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Publisher's Summary

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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joki
  • Helsinki
  • 01-28-14

Exuberant Steampunk Swashbuckling Adventure!

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Move Along To Better Works In The 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.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • JTF
  • Cary, NC USA
  • 02-04-14

More Daring Adventures with Pneumatic Zeppelins

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.

For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-SV

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • burleson, TX, United States
  • 03-31-14

Steam punk set way in the future after modern

What did you like best about Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders? What did you like least?

The main character is abit of a swashbuckler

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was good ,no complaints

Was Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders worth the listening time?

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Steampunk

narrator was great except I didn't like the female voice interpretation. wonderful steampunk elements but some of the names chosen were a little campy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A truly entertaining story.

I read some of the reviews before picking the book. I have always been interested in steam punk and thought I would give this a try.
I wasn't disappointed and am looking forward to book 2.
Thanks to the author for his shared talent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

As steampunk as it could possibly be! :D

This is very probably the steampunkiest steampunk book I have ever read (or listened to) in my entire history of steampunk reading (of which there has actually been a decent amount). Mind you I knew that it was going to be steampunk AF, because read the title and then look at the cover, lol.

This is the story of Romulus Buckle and his crew of his airship, the Pneumatic Zeppelin. He’s only 18 years old, and yet, he is the captain of a ragtag group of orphans and other survivors in this dystopian Los Angeles. He and several of his foster brothers and sisters, who are also the commanding officers of the zeppelin, are about to embark on a dangerous mission to rescue the leader of their clan and foster father, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the City of the Founders.

This world is a dystopian version of our own. Many years ago, aliens came visiting and… the Earth ended up in endless winter after a war with them. Moreso, some parts of certain parts of it are covered in deadly yellow fog known as the Mustard. So, in and around the former city of Los Angeles, there are several ‘clans’ of people. The biggest clans in these parts are the Crankshafts, of which Romulus Buckle and his crew are part; the Alchemists, scientists and astronomers who live in Hollywood, in what I assume is the Griffith Observatory, and who build robots; the Imperials, who build airships; and the Founders, who live in Los Angeles – the titular City of the Founders.

The Founders have kidnapped the leaders of the other clans for some reason, and it’s up to Buckle and his crew to save them. And thus:

STEAM-POWERED SHENANIGANS!

As I said, this might be the steampunkiest book I’ve ever read. However, that said, at times it almost felt as though it was trying too hard to be as steampunk as it possibly could, as just about every steampunk buzzword you can think of is included in here at some point, and nearly every character has the most ridiculous name and is so over the top with steam powered gadgets and tophats that it was a little comical, to be honest.

There was one point where Romulus lands on the ground and passes a sign that says ‘espresso’ and quips to himself that he has no idea what espresso is, and the only thing that I could do was chuckle and say to myself: ‘seriously, literally everything in your entire world is steam powered and you don’t have an espresso machine?’ >.>

Nonetheless, I will say that everything technical in this one sounded legit. The author either knows quite a bit about naval commands or how to fly zeppelins or did his research well. Romulus and his crew, despite pretty much nobody in it being much older than their mid-twenties for some reason (and it gave the book a real… maybe not YA but definitely more New Adult feel… but whatever we’ll roll with it) know all the nitty gritty of how their zeppelin works, and how to fly it. Everything that needed to sound technical did, and this was quite an adventure with plenty of exciting things happening.

I’d say this one was Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow meets Bioshock, meets Star Trek TNG, meets… Pirates of the Carribean. Something like a mix of all of those things dropped into post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. It’s not that this is a bad thing. Looking at that sentence… I mean that sounds awesome, right?

Well, at least I think so. :D

And it was pretty damn entertaining, if I’m honest!

Luke Daniels did a great job narrating this one. Characters all sounded different and had appropriate tones and accents. There was a couple foreign accents that all sounded excellently done. All told I’d give the narration a full 5/5 stars. I do believe that I will someday give the next book in the series a listen, because this one left the story open for more.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice but shallow

I must admit I got sucked in pretty quickly. A fun listening experience, a great narrator in Luke Daniels, a prose that is reminiscent of the halcyon days of pulp fiction, where action was quick, men were real men etc. Alas, the plot line is razor thin, basically two days of raiding and escaping, with a lot of shooting but not much development. At the halfway point I kind of lost interest as the whole thing got a bit repetitive. Still, i guess I will spend a credit on the next book because it was fun while it lasted, and maybe the next book has a bit more depth.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fun and enjoyable

If you are looking for a fun book this is the ticket. The performance was very well done.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

narrator was over the top with voices.

I'm sure the storyline was probably good but I couldn't pay attention due to the voices the narrator have some of the characters, especially the young characters. I found myself needing to turn down the volume because he went up 30 octaves and 20,000 decibels. Other than the cartoon voices, the narrator was fine.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. E. Allan
  • 08-20-18

A good introduction to a new fantasy world

I am not a steampunk fan I am more in to urban fantasy. But this was an excellent listen and I will continue with the series. A simple basic plot (rescue) but many additional sub plots were started. Characters are varied and have enough depth for an opening novel allowing expansion in later works. I have enjoyed the narrator's work previously and did so again but some of the voices are so similar to previous characters that for some reason I pictured a dog rather than a human during some parts. Overall, I'm voting with my feet and listening to the next one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful