The Court of the Air (Jackelian, Book 1)
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When streetwise Molly Templar witnesses a brutal murder at the brothel she has recently been apprenticed to, her first instinct is to run back to the poorhouse where she grew up. But there she finds her fellow orphans butchered, and it slowly dawns on her that she was the real target of the attack. For Molly is a special little girl, and she carries a secret that marks her out for destruction by enemies of the state.
Oliver Brooks has led a sheltered existence in the backwater home of his merchant uncle. But when he is framed for his only relative's murder he is forced to flee for his life, accompanied by an agent of the mysterious Court of the Air. Chased across the country, Oliver finds himself in the company of thieves, outlaws and spies, and gradually learns more about the secret that has blighted his life.
Soon Molly and Oliver will find themselves battling a grave threat to civilization, an ancient power thought to have been quelled millennia ago. Their enemies are ruthless and myriad, but the two orphans are also aided by indomitable friends in this endlessly inventive tale full of drama, intrigue, and adventure.
The Court of the Air is a rollicking adventure set in a fantastical Dickensian clockwork universe that will appeal to fans of Susanna Clarke and Philip Pullman.
Collar is too good for him. A visible example must be set. Take Compatriot Meagles to the boulevard at Rollfield and hang him from one of the lamps alongside the corpses from the House of Guardians.’ In front of the rookery Wildrake had stripped down to his trousers, and the soldiers who had been oiling his muscles stepped back. It was freezing in the street and Wildrake rubbed his biceps as the bite of the cold wind dug in. He nodded at the troops holding the craynarbian and they released her
and slid it into the holster. ‘Harry didn’t know about these, did he?’ ‘He’s not a weaponsmith,’ said Mother. ‘And he never did have much time for legends. But the Court of the Air has weaponsmiths, boy. From places you wouldn’t even believe. They will understand, they will know. They always do.’ ‘They have other things to occupy them right now,’ said Oliver. From the front door a banging sounded, Mother jumping in her chair. Oliver extended his senses and his heart sank, a shiftie officer and
‘We all get sentimental about things, Mother,’ said Harry. ‘They were all the go when I was a boy.’ ‘Oh, sir,’ said Mother’s apprentice. ‘When you were a boy? Leaaf addict were you, sir? Oh, a Tennyson and Bounder, they belong behind the glass in a museum.’ Harry looked at the young assistant with a glimmer of irritation in his eyes. ‘You like guns, old stick?’ ‘Oh, sir. I do. All sorts. Duelling pistols, gas guns, mail-coach pieces. Special commissions for navy officers, long-arms for the
disconcerted that a rogue RAN officer can take it into his head to falsify Admiralty orders in front of his crew and attack the heart of our fair land. Of course, unlike my honourable friend and his Leveller colleagues, the Guardians of the Purist party currently hold the majority in parliament and so we are obliged to do more than just stand around letting off steam on the matter.’ Loud calls of approbation rose up from the government benches. ‘We have consulted with the Admiralty and
high tension clockwork whining as its drums were put under pressure by the steam-hissing mechanism, rewinding the engine for its next journey. ‘No noble blood in my family’s veins, Molly. Unless you consider the blood of poets and theatre players to be noble.’ Molly pointed up at the tower. ‘A good opening night paid for that, did it?’ ‘I thought you were an aficionado of the pulp press, Molly? You must have missed the issues of the penny dreadfuls where my companions and myself found the