The Steam Mole
300 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-692-4
Steampunk adventure with an environmental point
Tim Barnabas is a submariner from the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine. Clara Calland is the daughter of a scientist who carries a secret formula that threatens British Imperial power. After a daring chase across the globe, they have brought the secret to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. People are nocturnal, living underground and working outside at night. To cross the deserts they use burrowing machines known as "steam moles." With the Cuttlefish out of action, her crew take jobs on these submarine-like craft.
Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Clara's rebel father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled from a racist incident into the desert. She takes a steam mole in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia. Forced to survive in the desert, they encounter the intolerance meted out to the aboriginal people. Can they save Westralia from falling
under British rule? And should they?
"Cuttlefish is Dave Freer at his best—and he's always good. It combines fascinating alternate history, superb and comprehensible science, and a propulsive plot that will entertain people of all ages, not just young adults."
"David Freer is an imaginative author who tells great stories."