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The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter

(Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #1)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,902 ratings  ·  443 reviews
Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life—as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus. But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the cour ...more
Paperback, 375 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Angry Robot (first published August 20th 2014)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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 ·  2,902 ratings  ·  443 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life—as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus.

But when she comes up against an agent of the all-powerful Patent Office, her life and the course of history will begin to change. And not necessarily for the better…

July 2020 UPDA
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: steampunk, mystery
This is a really enjoyable book that blends mystery and steampunk together. I've always been a sucker for cross-dressing ladies a-la Shakespeare, and this one really does a bang up fun job of having a protagonist who dresses as her "brother" in order to be a detective.

There's intrigue and a cool steampunk alt-world to dive into, and really interesting characters. There are hints of romance but it's certainly not a driving force. The political intrigue and mystery are, and those are where the bo
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: steam punk fans

"The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter" is a book I really looked for reading and after finishing it I feel a little bit disappointed because the book was not as interesting for me as I expected. I’ve read it quite quickly, but it didn’t grip me or excite me in the way that so many other books do. Maybe Mr. Murakami had spoiled me :D
I quite liked the story and the characters. The idea to write a steam punk story about a woman who disguises herself as a man sounded really attractive to me. (It’s definit
Robin (Bridge Four)
3.5 Stars

I really enjoy a good story about cross dressing. When done well I find the social dynamic changes between being male and female fascinating. The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is done well. The background of Elizabeth and the explanations of her mannerisms make it believable.

Men fancy that they recognize a woman by dress, figure and face but it is more through movement that gender is revealed.

Elizabeth was brought up in a traveling circus and learned very young the art of being both her
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Angry Robot is making a comeback this fall with a couple of great titles, and The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is one gem that is deserving of a lot more attention. I really had no idea what I was in for going into this book, but even before the beginnings of the story was revealed to me, I found myself already captivated by the elegant writing style.

Rod Duncan brings the Gas-Lit Empire to life in this steampunkish tale of my
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, r2017
Stories of cross-dressing always attract me - not just in the fun of the fact itself but also in its deeper meaning, flouting gender ‘rules’. The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter does this in an alternate Victorian setting, one where the United Kingdom has been divided into two republics with very different laws, mores and technologies.

This is where we find Elizabeth Barnabus, who takes on the persona of her fictitious twin brother Edwin in order to be able to sustain herself, working as a private inv
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. rated 5.0 of 5

Often, when I pick up a new book, by an author who is unfamiliar to me, there is both a sense of excitement, wonderment, but also a little sense of dread, wondering what I might be about to throw myself in to.  It's a game of trust betwen me, the author, the editor, and the publisher.  And when the author, and his/her book hooks me and takes me on a fantastic adventure and in to a land of people and places that I don't wa
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Publisher: Angry Robot
Publishing Date: August 2014
ISBN: 9780857665317
Genre: Fantasy

Publisher Description: Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life – as herself and as her brother, the private detective. She is trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. In her way stand the rogues, freaks and self-proclaimed alchemists of a travelling circus. But when she comes up against an agent of the all-power
Siobhan Logan
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the ingenious art work of Will Staehle – that blood-red Victorian purse/ metallic hand – to the fabulous title, The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, Rod Duncan's first novel in the Gaslit Empire series promises a thrilling and duplicitous read. And it delivers. This treat from imprint Angry Robot (loving their Cylon logo too!) is coming to Steampunk fans this September, with a sequel hot on its heels next spring. It has as much peril, mystery and mashed-up Victorian-futuristic technology as you c ...more
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews: http://www.avidfantasyreviews.wordpre...

2014 has been a great year for innovative releases in speculative fiction, and the publisher Angry Robot in particular has put out a wonderful abundance of genre-defying novels this year. One of Angry Robot’s newest releases, The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan, is no exception. This novel is the first installment of The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, and is Duncan’s first speculative fiction series.
Stephanie Swint
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Rod Duncan’s created a world known, incorrectly, as ‘The Gas-lit Empire.’ Part of what makes Duncan’s alternate history complete is the complexity of it including scattered inaccuracies through its revolutions, wars, offices, and political systems. The Anglo-Scottish Republic is mashed up against The Kingdom of England and Southern Wales splitting at Leicester. The flaws and benefits of both societies are uniquely viewed by Elizabeth Barnabus, daughter of a Bullet Catcher, fugitive, Intelligence ...more
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**ARC provided by Angry Robot and Netgalley**

I had no idea what to expect from The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter – but boy, was it a nice surprise!

Intriguing characters?


Exciting plot?


Meticulous world-building?


This novel has it all.

It's beautifully written too - Rod Duncan has a way with words.

Edwin Barnabus is a private detective, a good one at that, hired by the Duchess of Bletchley to search for her missing brother. Respectable enough...except Edwin Barnabus isn’t really who
 Reading Reindeer

An engrossing steampunk series which takes a divergent turn and becomes Alternate History instead of embracing the more common steampunk trope of a twisted background of Victorian and/or Edwardian England (specifically London), THE BULLET CATCHER'S DAUGHTER inaugurates an all-new series. Much world-building goes into the story, but the author starts with a sharp and catchy reader's hook, and interweaves the background world gradually. I found th
Oct 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages, and seeing that there are now three books in the series (which I think I read is complete as a trilogy?), I thought it was about time I got round to it. I’m not necessarily a reader of steampunk for steampunk’s sake, but the set-up intrigued me, and especially the double life lived by the protagonist.

I have to say that I missed some things which other reviewers spotted, like the date this is set, but I enjoyed it all the same. It does feel a bit gimm
Frank Errington
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 of 5 Stars Review copy

First I'd like to make note of the stunning and eye-catching cover by Will Staehle. Very nice work.

How best to describe The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter? Well, there are certainly some elements of Steampunk, there is an Alternate History going on, and there is the feel of a classic Sherlock Holmes story as told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Rod Duncan weaves these elements deftly into a beautiful tale of mystery and intrigue.

The author has created a not so United Kingdom foll
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I honestly thought this story would be more exciting than it was. The synopsis makes it sound like a lot happens but it’s like a movie trailer that gives you the best stuff leaving nothing big for the story itself. It started out feeling a bit like The Lies of Locke Lamora but then the exciting stuff became a lot less exciting. It was still a good story and I did like it, but I should have loved it. Really. Just look at the cover. It just screams “Read me, I’m amazing” ...more
Terri Bradshaw
Aug 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rod Duncan's fabulous writing takes you to places you never knew you wanted to go. He has created a world in the Gas-lit Empire that is so completely believable, it affects you long after you've put the book down. Elizabeth Barnabus is a heroine for our time; Lizzie Bennet meets Lara Croft. She finds adventure between the grinding difficulties of life in a misogynist world and with constant threats from overbearing authorities. Well which of us hasn't been there. To these problems she finds solu ...more
Ian Mond
Jan 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
What’s It About

The novel is set in an alternate history where, as a result of the 1811 Luddite Rebellion, the UK has been divided into the Kingdom of England and Southern Wales and the Anglo-Scottish Republic. Keeping a keen eye on The Kingdom and the Republic (and a good chunk of Europe and America) is the International Patent Office. Their job is to ensure that only the right sort of technology is developed and introduced.

In amongst this mishigas is private detective Elizabeth Barnabus, former
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid steampunk adventure story, excellent worldbuilding, but too slow-paced. If I had bought only this book, I doubt I would have rushed to buy the two sequels,but as it is I got the entire trilogy on sale for a couple of euros, so I will read them. I am reserving final judgement till then.
Initial Thoughts: This was so much fun to read. If you are a fan of steampunk and alternate histories, The Bullet Catcher's Daughter should appeal to you. Nicely written, fantastic story, resourceful and brainy heroine, and such an interesting world.

The Review:
Steampunk and alternate history fans will adore The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter. Set in England, but not really the England that we know from our history lessons, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter is the story of Elizabeth Barnabas, a private i
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}
Bell, Book & Candle | Book Reviews

The cover art of this book is as creative as the actual story. It gave me the feeling that I was reading a combination of The Master of Disguise and She's the Man, except this was more of a detective mystery with a steampunk element to it. I was definitely on the edge of my seat while reading. Also, the characters were likable for the most part.

Elizabeth is a pretty street-smart and cunning character. How she manages to lead a double life as her "twin brother Ed
Danie Ware
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Neatly plotted, elegantly phrased, and enough of a tight conclusion to keep you guessing right to the end... I don't read 'steampunk' as a general rule and really enjoyed this. The main character was smart, capable, utterly believable in both guises and human enough to make mistakes. And the difference between her dress/behaviour/freedom as a woman and as a man brought the restrictions of both garments and gender sharply home.

Plus a nice spinning of chemistry, metallurgy and circus flair all ad
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. Fast paced with interesting characters and a fascinating alternative world
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, steampunk
The nitty-gritty: A rollicking steampunk adventure, filled with intricate twists and turns, top-notch world building, and a heroine that quickly became one of my favorites ever.

Illusion was my inheritance, fed to me on my mother’s lap as the drowsy rocking of the caravan and the slow rhythm of iron-shod hooves lulled me. It was a ripe strawberry conjured from the air, or a silver coin caressed from my soft cheek by the touch of a loving hand.

The first great illusion given me by my father was the
A fairly slow start to what I hope will become a grand adventure in the books to come, "The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter" lacked a level of excitement and came close to the feeling of intrigue it aimed for, but missed it by millimeters. The premise is interesting, though, so I will try the second book, "Unseemly Science." I might as well. I already own a copy.
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A curious thing happened to me while reading this book. I couldn't get through the very beginning and got stuck on the first few chapters for a couple of months. The writing felt heavy, unwieldy.

And then I picked the book up again in mid September and read it in one sitting! Go figure. All I'm saying, give The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter a chance to charm you before giving up.

Elizabeth Barnabus is an exile from the Kingdom where women can be owned as property and lives in The Republic now, a much
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter by Rod Duncan

Elizabeth Barnabus lives with her brother on a barge in the Republic having fled a life of servitude in the Kingdom – or does she?

The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter is a riveting tale which moves swiftly and the reader will be gripped from the first page when Elizabeth has taken the persona of her brother, Edward Barnabus, a private intelligence gatherer. Disguised as a man for her work, Elizabeth meets with the Duchess of Bletchley who hires her, as Edward,
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have, fantasy, series, audio
Alternate history is always a challenge as it can often verge on the ridiculous however Rod Duncan has risen to it beautifully in the first of the Gas-Lit Empire series. Add in a Steampunk world, more than a touch of intrigue, a political system crying out to be pulled down seasoned with a social structure ripe for destruction in parts of said Gas-Lit Empire and you have a recipe for a fascinating tale. Our heroine, Elizabeth Barnabus is feisty and determined if a little naive at times, always e ...more
Katie Montgomery
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully pleasant surprise ...
Interesting story, writing is delicious. Evokes the Victorian era without being overly flowery. A nice, diversionary read.
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Rod Duncan worked in scientific research and computing before settling in Leicester to be a writer. His first novel, Backlash, was short-listed for the John Creasey Memorial Award (now the CWA Debut Dagger).

After four crime novels he switched to fantasy. The Bullet Catcher's Daughter was nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. He is currently writing a series of alternate history books, called ‘Th

Other books in the series

Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire (3 books)
  • Unseemly Science (The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #2)
  • The Custodian of Marvels (Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire, #3)

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