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Stephen Hunt

Stephen HuntStephen Hunt (born in Canada) is a British author best known for his fantasy novel For the Crown and the Dragon which won the 1994 WH Smith New Talent Prize and was voted best fantasy novel of 1994 by the readers of the British genre gaming magazine Roleplayer Independent. Hunt’s short fiction has appeared in various mainly US and UK-based genre magazines, and some of his earliest works were written in the cyberpunk sub-genre of science fiction.Stephen Hunt works at an international investment banking house in London. He also runs a Sci/Fi community website.

The Court of the Air: A lot to like

The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt

Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air is a fantasy novel in the steampunk subgenre. The story is set in a gritty world where steam- and clockwork-powered devices are the height of technology and where an aerial navy of military balloons keeps the nation of Jackals safe from the dirty communist Quatréshiftians. Actually, the “Shifties” are not quite communist, per se; they seem based on the French revolutionaries, complete with a penchant for decapitating the ruling classes.

We follow the separate yet concurrent adventures of two orphans, Oliver and Molly, as they dodge agents of the Big Brother-like Court of the Air and a dark underworld cult bent on the world domination. It's a sort of Oliver Twist meets the X-men in Gotham City, if you can imagine such a thing.

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The Kingdom Beyond the Waves: Trust issues?

The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt

Imagine a post-apocalyptic Dickensian world where the main character is a female Indiana Jones. This is the setting we find ourselves in when reading The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. Amelia Harsh is our protagonist; a swinging (as in ropes and vines) heroine who has been ostracized from all colleges but one, where she has been taken under the wing of an elderly professor who puts up with her larger-than-life adventures in the field and her frowned-upon theories of their ancient predecessors.

Orphan Amelia, together with a cantankerous elderly submariner, a steam-powered robot capable of rational thought, a mysterious blind man, a woman who is part crayfish, a bevy of oft-naked Amazonian bodyguards, and a gang of tough smugglers, journey up-river into a dangerous jungle to find a lost city and possibly the key to restoring society to a utopian peace.
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More books by Stephen Hunt

Six Against the Stars — (2009) Publisher: As the self-proclaimed biggest coward in the galaxy, Horatio has it easy on what passes for 40th century America. A much-favoured sycophant in the court of the King of Earth, Horatio lives in a genetically engineered paradise where there’s a vat-grown slave waiting around every marble column with a bunch of grapes to drop into his oh-so perfectly designed mouth. Unfortunately for Horatio, the artificial intelligence that rules the great mass of humanity spread across the stars has other plans for this feckless seducer. So, if you ever wonder how the galaxy’s biggest coward finds himself actually trying to save it, you’re not alone… but then, unfortunately, neither is our hero! His misadventures are abetted by a psychotic Martian warrior, a robot who thinks it’s related to Sherlock Holmes, a beautiful genetically enhanced assassin, a scientist with a computer for a brain, and a millennia-old clone who was alive when the last U.S. President was executed by a firing squad. It’s six against the galaxy. Six against the stars. They’ll save the universe… but they might damage it first.

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Sliding Void — (2011-2015) Publisher: Captain Lana Fiveworlds has a hell of a lot of problems. She’s sliding void in an ageing seven-hundred-year-old space ship, scrabbling around the edges of civilised space trying to find a cargo lucrative enough to pay her bills without proving so risky that it’ll kill her. She’s got an alien religious freak for a navigator, an untrustworthy android for a first mate, a disgraced lizard for a trade negotiator and a deserter from the fleet acting as her chief engineer. And that was well before an ex-crewman turns up wanting Lana to rescue a barbarian prince from a long-failed colony world. Unfortunately for Lana, the problems she doesn’t know about are even more dangerous. In fact, they just might be enough to destroy Lana’s rickety but much-loved vessel, the Gravity Rose, and jettison her and her crew into the void without a spacesuit. But there’s one thing you can never tell an independent space trader. That’s the odds…

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Agatha Witchley  — (2011) Publisher: Because sometimes, insanity and genius are indistinguishable… Agatha Witchley used to be a spy in the Cold War, but now she’s locked up in the UK’s premier maximum-security mental institution. She believes that the ghosts of the celebrity dead visit her padded cell and whisper the world’s secrets in her ears. Which is a big problem for the British government, because she’s the only one who can help them when an American billionaire is murdered in London in one of the strangest killings yet. The Home Secretary needs the case locked down and solved before the entrepreneur’s death becomes public knowledge and economic chaos ensures. The woman he has in mind for the job might be paranoid, she might be lethal, she might half-insane and drawing a pension, but it’s amazing how you can forgive that in a genius when it’s a genius’s help you need. Yes, the security forces need Agatha Witchley again. It’s just the ghosts of Churchill, Elvis and Groucho Marx they could do without.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsfantasy and science fiction book reviews

Stephen Hunt For the Crown and the Dragon

For the Crown and the Dragon — (1994) Publisher: It is the final years of the 18th century, but a world which few would recognise. The people of Europe shelter in small islands of safety, havens from the enchanted wilderness — the strange boundless forests men call the Tumble. It is across this demon haunted landscape that the low-born officer Taliesin must lead his men, caught up in the deadliest of intrigues while fighting wars for a noble class which despises him. With vicious murderers from the worst gutters in the Realm marching behind him, and the forces of the most powerful nations of the mainland arrayed against him, the odds are stacked against Taliesin. Heavily. Yet he will fight on, battling armies, weirdsman sorcerers, assassins, beastmen and cross into the face of hell itself. Not for loyalty, or a grudging respect for his scheming monarch — not even for the small mountain of silver the Island Queen has promised him if he succeeds. But because fighting is all he and pressed band of cut-throats have ever known.