In a postapocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California — before it was devastated in the alien war — Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World, and death is quick. Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of Noxious Mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers, and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress city.
Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of ne’er-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war that could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.
©2013 Richard Ellis Preston Jr. (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
The Romulus Buckle series is an exuberant, swashbuckling tale of a dystopian future set in Los Angeles and populated with a great cast of over the top characters. The story is packed with non-stop action and adventure and really sets a great bar for inventive steampunk romance.
Romulus Buckle is the young captain of the Pneumatic Zeppelin - part of the fleet of his father's clan, the Crankshafts. When the leader of the clan (and Romulus' adoptive father) is kidnapped, the Buckle and his Zeppelin will travel across the Los Angeles landscape, fight prehistoric monsters, clan armies, and more - all the while assisted by his capable crew.
I really enjoyed this book - it's a book that has a strong enough plot, great world building, and all the adventure you'd expect from a pirate type adventure. There are even moments of amusement and humor thrown in at some of the situations in which Buckle finds himself. Add in Martians, Los Angeles ruined and under snow, and some inventive steampunking (where steampunk IS intrinsic to the plot and not set dressing) and you have a great read. Los Angeles natives will especially appreciate this book and its ruined Southern California locations.
I listened to the Audible version of this book and it was just a bit too over the top, though I appreciated all the characterization the narrator put into the reading.
In all, this is a gem in the steampunk or dystopian genre.
Sometimes, no matter how you try, you can't get into an audiobook.
It can be the premise. In this case, I LOVE the premise.
Sometimes, it can be the delivery. In this case, Daniels is passable.
So, why did I have so much trouble with this audiobook, starting it over numerous times to make sure I was hearing it correctly, re-evaluating the plots and the "believability" of the work?
Let's figure this out by looking at what good writing does for the reader or listener.
Good writing takes us on a journey that must, by the very genre's nature, suspend disbelief. It's a requirement. This is done by more than interesting action sequences, which this work DOES have. It requires solid world-building combined with a believable lead character.
There are other important factors to successful writing, but on these two key factors, the work falls short. Romulus Buckle is too perfect, with no flaws that accompany a great story. As to the good sequences, they just don't come together as a WHOLE work of exceptional world-building. Tolerable, but not worthy of an Audible credit.
I keep these negative reviews short when I deliver them, because they should be short and to the point. It's my hope that Preston will step up his game in the future.
There are SO many other works that deserve your attention here at Audible, both fiction and non. Explore those instead.
a dedicated dilettante
Romulus Buckle's life would be any adrenaline junky's dream except his adventures aren't about getting his kicks (that's a by-product). He is moved by loyalty, family and yes, a serious sense of adventure. Richard Ellis Preston Jr.'s second book in the Pneumatic Zeppelin Chronicles, Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War, continues the saga of Romulus through the challenges of facing off against the Founders, this time, with a little help from some new friends.
If you're looking for subtly, don't go hanging out with Romulus Buckle. He's a bit larger than life, his adventures are action-packed and his loyalties are (fairly) straight-forward. Mr. Preston continues his fine, swashbuckling tradition from the first in the series, Romulus Buckle and the City of the Founders, about which more here. However, the relationships become more complicated and new revelations and hints of revelations put a new twist on things
Luke Daniels did an admirable job narrating the audio-book (I went back and forth between my Kindle and the Audible versions). Mr. Daniel's characterizations are terrific; he's, in turns, big and booming, snooty or a weazened old-timer when he called upon. I hope he continues narrating the series.
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The main character is abit of a swashbuckler
The narration was good ,no complaints
I found it to be a good book but somewhat boring. It did have action and some interesting parts. I bought the second at the same time. Im hoping it picks up
Yes, it is a great intro to steampunk I believe. The story is solid and setting fully fleshed out.
I own this book in all three formats, The printed book has a beautiful cover and is printed well. The audible is read with impeccable form and the narrator really brings the story to life. This was one of my first forays into steampunk genre and I LOVED it, It is set in a world that is dark, and dangerous, but the locations are very well described. The author obviously knows the area well, and has truly made a masterful setting using a real life area in a post apocalyptic setting. I don't wish to give anything away, but the thought and structure put into the setting, and the airship are truly enormous, so much so that I am honestly wishing I could board a proper ridged airship and fly around with the likes of Buckle and crew! If I ever have the space I may attempt to build a functional scale model of he Pneumatic Zeppelin because in my mind the ship is a very near a real thing, the power of the authors words to bring his setting and characters to life, are impressive.
Luke Daniels is quite probably my favorite narrator. He has such a range of voice and all his characters are fully fleshed voices, and never do they break character voice wise. As always Mr. Daniels brings the book to life in a way no other narrator could.
The performance is over the top and great fun. Every moment is fraught. Literally, just fraught with one thing or another. read this one to keep up with and discuss it with my adolescent, who adores the series
I love steam punk but sometimes writers struggle to define why the world uses steam instead of other tech. I like how the background of the world is teased out in bits rather than just dumped on you all at once.
I will get more in the series.
Join Romulus Buckle, Captain of the airship, Pneumatic Zeppelin, and his eclectic crew on this steampunk adventure. The action is non-stop. Captain Buckle's mission is to raid the impenetrable city of the Founders, and rescue his leader (and adopted father), Balthazar Crankshaft. They travel over the icy-cold landscape of Southern California.
Mr. Preston has created an exciting adventure with cliffhangers and plot twists, sympathetic characters, and edge-of-your-seat moments. Luke Daniels brings the narrative to life with his performance. Children and adults alike will enjoy this audiobook.
The world and the premise kept me interested despite the cliche and over done voices of the reader, and the juvenile characterizations.
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