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Unnatural History (Pax Britannia, #1)
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Unnatural History (Pax Britannia #1)

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3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  457 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
In the closing years of the 20th century the British Empire's rule is still going strong. Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her 160th birthday, kept alive by advanced steam technology. London is a fantastical sprawling metropolis where dirigibles roam the skies, robot bobbies enforce the law and dinosaurs are on display in London zoo. Welcome to Magna Britannia, a steam ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 17th 2007 by Abaddon Books
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CAW
Feb 16, 2012 CAW rated it it was ok
A cross between James Bond and Spiderman with dinosaurs, this should be awesome, right? That's...about as far as this book gets. The setting is cardboard, the characters interchangeable with their archetypes and the dinosaurs don't even hang around for more than a couple of chapters.

The "hero" is an arrogant sod called Ulysses Quicksilver (stop groaning, I like my pulps) with an inexplicable Spider Sense, ability to magic his bloodstone-topped swordcane into his hand even when clinging to the un
...more
Andrew
Oct 04, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it
I never know how to start these sorts of reviews.... Anyway this book was a free download (I suspect to encourage readers to get in to the series of loosely connected books - now that they first 6 of them have been collected together in to two omnibus editions.

But what of the book - well I will have to admit that some of the plot devices were a little easy to spot including the big reveal at at the end - but to be honest this book is not about ground breaking story lines or award winning dialog
...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Although there aren't any surprises in the book (I mean, you can see the truth right away) and the ending is a bit cartoonish, I like this book.

It's the end of the twentieth century and Queen Victoria is still alive. There aren't clear black and white sides in this story. On one side you have outdated Magna Britannia, its agents, aristocracy, and on the other "the more shameful aspects of Imperial life had continued to deteriorate. At this time London's slums were darker, dirtier and more over-
...more
edifanob
May 12, 2008 edifanob rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Steampunk lovers
Shelves: my-books
First of all I like to quote some sentences from the blurb:

"Pax Britannia is an exciting new science fiction series, set on an alternative Earth where the British Empire still reigns"

"Action and adventure in a new Age of Steam!"

And to be honest the story contains action, adventure and steam.

we follow the first adventure of Ulysses Quicksilver which mostly take place in an alternative London. There is an Overground instead of the Underground. The zoo of London harbours dinosaurs. There are coloni
...more
Abhinav
Jul 19, 2014 Abhinav rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-read
You can read the full review over at my blog:

http://sonsofcorax.wordpress.com/2014...

Steampunk isn’t exactly something that I’ve had much of an experience with. I can remember a few random examples here and there, nothing substantive. In fact, I think I’ve only read five steampunk novels to date, one in 2012, two in 2013 and two this year. Very, very slim pickings indeed here. As a genre, Steampunk doesn’t fascinate me all that much, not as much as straight-up science fiction (usually space oper
...more
George Wilhite
Nov 30, 2012 George Wilhite rated it really liked it
I am rating this four stars based on its originality within the sreampunk genre and in the context that it is escapist entertainment. It isn't four stars stakced up against a more literary writer in terms of the writing but it does what is does very well--keeps you reading, entertained, and wanting to read more of the series.
Andrew Lawston
Aug 28, 2014 Andrew Lawston rated it it was amazing
Unnatural History is the first book in the steampunk-flavoured alternative history series Pax Britannia. Author Jonathan Green has crafted a vision of contemporary Britain where Queen Victoria still reigns over a British Empire that covers a quarter of the world.

The police are staffed largely with automata, airships crowd the skies, and London Zoo's Challenger Enclosure is stuffed full of dinosaurs. Against this backdrop, dandy adventurer Ulysses Quicksilver is engaged to investigate an apparent
...more
Olethros
Nov 14, 2015 Olethros rated it liked it
-Si se compra el concepto, hasta entretenida. Pero hay que comprarlo.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ulysses Quicksilver reaparece tras mucho tiempo para, primero, evitar que su hermano se haga con la fortuna familiar y, segundo, enfrentar unos misteriosos eventos que amenazan con hacer tambalear los cimientos del Imperio Británico, líder de la geopolítica mundial a finales del siglo XX merced a su avanzada tecnología. Primer libro de la serie Pax Britannia.

¿Quiere saber más de este
...more
Oliver
Oct 24, 2010 Oliver rated it it was ok
A bit dull, really.

Also, anyone who uses the old 'rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated' line should be punched in the mouth.
Jenn
Nov 16, 2013 Jenn rated it really liked it
Dinosaurs, sewer chases, zeppelins, robo-cops..it was awesome.
Philip Chaston
Jan 05, 2017 Philip Chaston rated it it was ok
Marginal steampunk, with Darwinian overtones. Lots of action, with stock characters
Tim
Jan 01, 2017 Tim rated it liked it
It took me a couple of days to finish this as I kept being interrupted by my cat, and to be quite frank it was easy to be interrupted. As the first in the Pax Britannia series I would have liked a bit more explanatory text but perhaps, and I suspect this was the case, the author was making it up as he went along. The plot was fairly easy to follow and anticipate, and the characters were a bit two-dimensional even the hero, Ulysses Quicksilver.
Having said all that it was good escapist stuff and I
...more
Eric
Oct 18, 2010 Eric rated it it was amazing
What the hell is wrong with all you goodreaders?? This book is awesome. I'm disappointed to see it with anything less than a five star average.

First of all, let me say that I love Abaddon books. I loved them before I'd ever read anything they'd published, hoping beyond hope that they wouldn't let me down. Now that I've finished Unnatural History, the first in the Pax Britannia series, I'm incredibly happy. To give you some background, let me copy a blurb from Abaddon's own website to give you an
...more
Uwe Taechl
Feb 12, 2014 Uwe Taechl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
German Edition:

Inhalt:
Der 160. Geburtstag Queen Victorias steht bevor, das Empire ist zum Magna Britannia angewachsen und hat sich auf andere Planeten des Sonnensystems ausgedehnt. Der London Zoo beherbergt inzwischen auch eine stattliche Anzahl nachgezüchteter Dinosaurier und im Zeichen ihrer Majestät darf Abenteurer, Detektiv und Lebemann Ulysses Lucian Quicksilver ermitteln.
Er taucht für tot erklärt gerade noch rechtzeitig wieder auf, um zusammen mit seinem stoischen Hausdiener Nimrod den Tod
...more
Musicom
Sep 29, 2016 Musicom rated it really liked it
steam punk; evolution; page turner; Queen Victoria still alive
Jessy Nelson
The writing kind of drags... Which is weird for me to say, because I LIKE long fiction and epic reads where it takes forever for anything to happen. Its very much a work of modern Victorian Gothic. The style has been EXCELLENTLY duplicated, perhaps to the point that it almost doesn't stand apart on its own.

Ulysses Quicksilver is Sherlock Holmes. Not just a Sherlockian figure, he is basically a duplicate of Holmes. He has his mannerisms, his speech patterns, his attitude... He says "the game is o
...more
Matti Karjalainen
Jonathan Greenin "Unnatural History" (Abaddon, 2007) aloittaa Pax Britannian, vaihtoehtohistorialliselle 1990-luvulle sijoittuvan steampunk-kirjasarjan.

Ulysses Quicksilver on eräänlainen hallituksen salainen asiamies, joka saa tehtäväkseen selvittää Lontoon luonnonhistoriallisessa museossa sattunutta murtoa, jonka seurauksena myös yövartija on saanut surmansa.

Vaatimattomalta vaikuttava rikos käynnistää toiminnantäyteisen seikkailun, jossa on mukana pommeja räjäytteleviä terroristeja, Lontoon ka
...more
Tony
Jun 30, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Steampunk novel. If you are confused by all the genre and sub-genre talk and have no idea what speculative fiction is don't panic. It doesn't really matter as knowing a genre can sometimes be a bad thing. I spent years avoiding Steampunk books because I read Jeter and did not enjoy his work. I'd heard that Jeter was one of the best Steampunk authors so I assumed I disliked the whole genre. When asked on Twitter the other day by @gavreads it actually sounded really silly that I avoided ...more
Gabriella Gricius
Feb 16, 2015 Gabriella Gricius rated it really liked it
Why Read: This was a NetGalley read that I picked up out of sheer curiosity. For those of you who know me, you know I’m currently deep in the listening of the “British History Podcast,” which follows the history of the territory of Great Britain. I saw this and the back description especially and well… I simply had to read it.

Review: Unnatural History was just that: unnatural. I mean that in an entirely good way. There was a certain sense to the book that definitely led me to the conclusion tha
...more
Scrittevolmente
Jan 25, 2013 Scrittevolmente rated it liked it
Jonathan Green è un barman eccellente. Ha preso una parte di Sherlock Holmes, due parti di James Bond e una di Allan Quatermain, le ha agitate (non mescolate), ha aggiunto un’oliva steampunk e ci ha servito Ulysess Quicksilver, summa dell’eroe albionico-vittoriano, assolutamente dandy , incredibilmente british. Oppure ha fatto copia-incolla come il tizio di “Orgoglio e Pregiudizio e Zombies”. Quando conosci Ulysses Quicksilver, il deja-vu ti stordisce per un istante e torni a guardare la coperti ...more
coala
Aug 03, 2016 coala rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Für die Pax Britannia Reihe hat der Autor Jonathan Green eine spannende Steampunk Welt geschaffen, in der Fans in jedem Fall auf ihre Kosten kommen. Die Königin regiert noch, mittlerweile jedoch 160 Jahr e alt und durch Maschinen am Leben gehalten. Ebenso existieren noch die klassischen Gesellschaftsstrukturen wie im 18. Jahrhundert. Dazu leben Dinosaurier immer noch und es gibt Roboter, Differenzmaschinen, Kolonien auf dem Mars und und und. An fantastischen Ideen wurde hier bestimmt nicht gespa ...more
Elizabeth Spencer
Aug 22, 2012 Elizabeth Spencer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish it, unfortunately. It has a pretty interesting premise, but too many things about it just had me rolling my eyes.

The characterization is shallow and the characters are cliche. That's unfortunate. I tried to focus on the more interesting elements--the odd dinosaur-keeping, moon-traveling Victorian theme--but I kept getting distracted by how little motivation the characters had to do anything.

For example: Early on, the main character goes to investigate a murder. That's fine. He go
...more
Jeff Powers
May 18, 2014 Jeff Powers rated it it was ok
Unnatural History wants to be many things. It wants to be a great adventure tale set in a unique steampunk alternate universe. It wants to have a slick interesting protagonist. what we get falls flat of the author's grand imtentions. This book has a lot of great ideas. A unique alt history storyline, where steam power has actually managed to take technology to new heights. it is the world of a hero adventure, who reads like an homage to Doc Savage with spidey senses. There are many ideas in this ...more
Hali Sowle
A steampunk novel set in today's world, but one in which Queen Victoria is almost 160 years old, the British Empire rules the world, the Underground of London has been replaced by an Overground, pockets of "lost worlds" have been found around the globe so there are really truly dinosaurs at the zoo, there are settlements on the Moon and Mars, and there are steam engines. And through it all is Ulysses Quicksilver, dandy, aristocrat and servant of the Queen.

There is a break in, or maybe a break o
...more
Raj
Feb 22, 2010 Raj rated it it was ok
Shelves: steampunk
In a few months Britain and her colonies will celebrate the 160th anniversary of the rule of Queen Victoria, but there are those plotting to bring down London and the Empire with it. It's up to Ulysses Quicksilver, gentleman adventurer and Agent of the Throne, to trace the plot from its source at the break-in at the Natural History Museum to its horrifying conclusion.

This is a steampunk type book set in a 1990s where the British Empire never ended and Queen Victoria is still on the throne and fi
...more
John Montagne
Mar 04, 2012 John Montagne rated it did not like it
So full of cliches and tropes that it was a struggle for me to read - the characters were see-through cutouts, the plot predictable, and the characteristics/mannerisms/idiosyncrasies of the characters (when they had any) were very typical. Wanted to like this... will still try another of his novels. But it seems like its gotten to the point that authors are so concerned with writing something steampunk-ish that they forget some key elements to a good science fiction novel. The main character, Ul ...more
Richard Wright
Jul 22, 2011 Richard Wright rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I wanted to like this more than I did. I've enjoyed novels from Abaddon Books enormously in the past, with some of their stand alone zombie novels (from Simon Bestwick, Gary McMahon, and Paul Finch) among the strongest of that sub genre that I've read in the last few years. I've enjoyed Green's short fiction for the Warhammer Universe too. Unfortunately, though I was keen to find a steampunk series that would plug the gap between George Mann releases, this one fails for me. It's like the novelis ...more
Jenn-Ha
Jul 10, 2015 Jenn-Ha rated it it was ok
Bezieht sich auf die deutsche Ausgabe:

Ich würde das Buch gerne mehr loben, denn ich fand das Setting wirklich wunderschön und faszinierend *_* hier hat sich der Autor wirklich Mühe gegeben, ein perfektes Empire zu zeichnen in das ich bisweilen mit Teil 2 auch richtig gern zurückgekehrt wäre.

Doch leider halten mich die Hauptakteure davon ab. Zu viel kopiert (Mr. Bond, Mr. Jones, die Liste is' lang) und alles so ... gerade! Ich weiß auch nicht. Ulysses kann immer alles weiß immer alles und kriegt
...more
Seth Tucker
Nov 04, 2013 Seth Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fantastic. It was a great adventurous romp through an alternate landscape of history. This book had everything one could want in a steampunk adventure. Fantastic machines, super science gone wrong, dinosaurs, and a plucky hero to combat all woes. If you are a fan of steampunk or alternate history then this book is a great read for you. I cannot wait to read the next adventure of Ulysses Quicksilver as he fights the Kingdom of Magna Brittania and Queen Victoria now in her 160th year ...more
Phil Jones
Nov 13, 2015 Phil Jones rated it it was ok
This is the book equivalent of the old style TV short or Flash Gordon type 1930's serial.
The action is fast and furious in short chunks and the story zips along.
So far so good, but.....there is very little character exposition or story development. The author has written a story for the short attention span reader who is happy perhaps to read a chapter or two and then leave it for a while.
The characters are all monochrome with no shades in between. They are cartoon good, or cartoon bad.
I enjoyed
...more
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242006
Jonathan Green is a writer of speculative fiction, with more than sixty books to his name. Well known for his contributions to the Fighting Fantasy range of adventure gamebooks, he has also written fiction for such diverse properties as Doctor Who, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Sonic the Hedgehog, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Moshi Monsters, LEGO, Judge Dredd and Robin o ...more
More about Jonathan Green...

Other Books in the Series

Pax Britannia (7 books)
  • Leviathan Rising (Pax Britannia, #2)
  • Human Nature (Pax Britannia, #3)
  • Evolution Expects (Pax Britannia, #4)
  • Blood Royal (Pax Britannia, #5)
  • Dark Side (Pax Britannia, #6)
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