It is the reign of Her Eternal Majesty, Empress Victoria the first. Steam power is still ascendant and the digital age never arrived. While the people feel safe in their homes under Victoria’s Peace, ambitious men and woman plot to gain power without incurring the wrath of the Eternal Queen and her lightning powered armies. Onto this stage comes Professor Harmonious Crackle and his colleague Miss Titania Bang. Exiled for a crime he did not commit, Professor Crackle tries to prove his loyalty to the crown by seeking out those who threaten the empire.
A night at the Opera of Prague leads a young English Lord to a chance meeting with an eccentric professor and his lovely young companion. But before the evening’s entertainment is over, a hidden assassin strikes at a visiting member of the royal court, destroying the opera house and putting our trio on the track of a mad scientist bent on toppling the Imperial Court from power. Can they find him and stop him before he makes another attempt? Or will they have front row seats for the first salvo in a war for control of the empire? In either case, can they survive the Perils of Prague?
Doc Coleman needs to update his bio. It doesn't look like he has touched it in a couple of years. I know this, because I am Doc, and I just looked at this bio and said, "Man, I need to update this thing."
Doc is really proud of his book The Perils of Prague. It has gotten really good reviews. You should take a look.
He also is in a recently published anthology called Paradise Found: Tales from the Library. It has some really interesting looks at adventures in the Paradise City, where all the afterlives meet.
When Doc isn’t juggling projects, making a living, or mainlining podcasts, he is a gamer, an avid reader, a motorcyclist, a homebrewer and beer aficionado, a fan of renaissance festivals, and frequently a smart-ass. He lives with his lovely wife and two Maine Coon cats in Germantown, MD.
In my humble opinion, reading a book by an author as yet unknown is like meeting a person for the first time. Rather than sizing that individual up by their dress or demeanor, that first impression comes within the confines of a few paragraphs. If those paragraphs scream read on, it is a pleasure to make the acquaintance. The first paragraphs of THE PERILS OF PRAGUE did so scream, most loudly. It felt like the start of a beautiful new friendship.
Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy that allows a writer to strike out in myriad ways. It requires a clever, no, ingenious mind to take a robot filled with circuit boards and turn it into an automaton filled with gears and springs and pulleys. In the steampunk universe, every creation is a Rube Goldberg perfected.
Professor Harmonious Crackle and Miss Titania Bang have a Holmes and Watson feel, and there is a distinct homage throughout the book that Whovians will certainly appreciate. Of course, there is also an archvillain to keep things interesting.
THE PERILS OF PRAGUE is narrated by an unnamed first person who, through no particular effort of his own, becomes a companion to Crackle and Bang.
Steampunk can be as simple as the mention of goggles and gears, or it can be intricate descriptions of steam powered systems. As I read the descriptions of intricate collections of pipes and hoses, gears and levers, complete with tubes and dials, I had a vision of Doc Coleman's workspace containing intricate diagrams of just how all these things worked. There is an amazing amount of detail about the various nefarious devices foisted upon our heroes, all of which made some mad sort of sense.
In the grand scheme of steampunk, Doc Coleman falls somewhere in between China Mieville and Shelley Adina (both of whom I have read and enjoyed). If you haven't experienced steam, THE PERILS OF PRAGUE is certainly a good choice for dipping in a toe and testing the waters. I, for one, can't wait to read the next episode in the Adventures of Crackle and Bang.
If you're looking for a super-fun steampunk adventure, look no further than The Perils of Prague!
This madcap escapade starts at the opera and enjoys toying with the tropes of the genre: goggles, a proper empire, airships, colonies, automatons, steam-powered machines inspired by various levels of sanity, and a ticking clock of an adventure.
The characters are three-dimensional, the world is thoroughly fleshed out, and properly invokes the pulp-iness of the original Indiana Jones movies.
5 stars because the story embraces its genre and does it well.
Doc Coleman takes us on adventures on land, above land, and below ground. All cool in their own rights.
****FULL REVIEW**** *I read this book for my own enjoyment and in exchange for an honest review.
Our dashing lord is visiting with his uncle in Prague at his parents direction before traveling on to his next relative in another country now that he's graduated. However, things blow up. Well, the Opera House blows up after he meets a strange man and gorgeous woman in his Uncle's booth. And things get more complicated after that.
We have a few main characters. There is our main character and POV we live through, the Lord. See, I can't tell you his name as it's not one that people expect to hear. And... many are offended by it. It was a way for his great-great grandfather to shake up the social politeness of society and a string of profanity. Then we have Professor Crackle who seems a bit absentminded from time to time. However, there is something very special about him. We get hints and my curiosity is kept guessing about him. We do learn, in the end, what is so special about the professor. You'll like it. Lastly we have the lovely Miss Bang. She is a colleague of Professor Crackle's and handy in her own right and mind. This is a pair that are brilliant together and the Lord gets to see and participate with them in this adventure.
Can I tell you I love these names? I love that they are different and seem to fit the characters personalities. They roll off my tongue easily too.
Doc Coleman takes us on adventures on land, above land, and below ground. All cool in their own rights. I can't imagine where the characters could go in future books, in other cities, with all they lived through in this one! Wow, I didn't think we'd go through all that! lol.
There are many cool elements brought together here. I love when steampunk is used in the book and not just a surrounding in the setting. Steampunk is used here and something I enjoy. The adventures and actions that happen are well done in moments we need them, keeping the story higher paced. The moments where we learn details is done in a way that kept me interested as I didn't know what was going to be shared. It was all arranged to keep me interested and turning pages.
There are many additional attracting elements here as well. The crew of people we see, very neat! Another member of Crackle's crew, which we don't see as often here, is a very special woman. You have to meet her. The idea of immoral is very interesting. The Queen is the one and only. But is she really? This is interesting as it's explained and could become a bigger problem for others when you learn what you do.
Doc Coleman has set a high bar in this book and I look forward to seeing what he does in the next city as we carry on with Crackle and Bang.
This book is a fun romp through the streets (and underneath) of Prague, which is not your normal setting for a steampunk. This Prague is under the control of Victoria, the Eternal Empress, who has been on the throne of the British Empire for 175 years at this point. Yes, you saw that right. This world is a world dominated by the British Empire in all her glory, complete with lighting rifles and the might of the Eternal Empress. The technology is fascinating, mostly because we are experiencing the world through the eyes of the narrator.
Who has a name that apparently is so vile that we can't know what it is, thanks to a grandfather with a sick sense of human. His Lordship (which is how he is referred to) is stuck with this name, and trying to figure out what to do with his life when he is shipped off to Bohemia to spend some time learning from his uncle, the Duke of Prussia. The Duke introduces him to Professor Harmonious Crackle and his assistant, Titania Bang. The two of them then proceed to turn His Lordship's world upside down and inside out in a way that had this reader both cheering and wincing for him.
I liked this book. It wasn't the deep, dark, gritty, soul-searching steampunk that I've seen before, but that doesn't mean it didn't have meat. The characters grabbed me, and the story itself was well-constructed. I found myself wishing that I could have seen more of Prague through these sets of eyes, and I can't wait to see what Doc has in store for us for the next book. If you like steampunk, and you're looking for something that isn't the same-old, same-old, I highly recommend trying this out.
I'm really bad at book reviews but I'll try since I feel it's important for authors. This one will be spoiler free.
This was a really quick read. That's NOT a bad thing at all. I really just didn't want to put it down, even though I had to. The only reason it took me five days to finish this one was that I had limited reading time.
The action grabbed me from the start and it kept up for most of the book. I enjoyed the reveals and, personally, did not see what they revealed coming. That speaks well for the author and for future books.
My only disappointment on ending this one was that I didn't have a second adventure to go on with Crackle and Bang. I'll be looking out for them.
Doc Coleman delivers a classic steampunk adventure of the highest order, breathing new life into traditional tropes and proving that the genre is so much more than gears and aether-guns. At no time does the plot lag or meander unnecessarily, and the author demonstrates a mastery for describing complex machines with enough detail to make them vivid in the reader's imagination without becoming bogged down in the minutiae. For newcomers to steampunk and veterans of the genre alike, this novel reminds us about what it is about steampunk that inspires and fascinates us. I strongly recommend it.
A fantastic find for lovers of Steampunk and Fantasy! Very fun ride, with humor and peril. I loved the fact that the narrator is saddled with a name that is a horrifying string of curse words, apparently; we never get to learn what they are, but everyone who hears them is horrified. I read this in one sitting, and wished for more! I look forward to the next book in the series!
Doc Coleman's latest novel has the charm of an era gone by, the mechanical genius of a true mad scientist, and the suspense of a Hitchcockian film gone off with the clankertons! In short, it is steampunk sendup and high fun, and at times resembles Hitchcock's "The Birds" meets Young Frankenstein:
"I was sure we were going to be overwhelmed by our little attackers when I stepped forward while striking at a bird and my foot accidentally pinned another of the creatures, which Miss Bang knocked to the ground. As my weight came down, crushing the small creature the others abruptly broke and banked off, scattering in all direction...
"Could you be so kind as to lift your foot, my lord?" he said and squatted down next to my left foot. I looked down and realized he was looking at the foot that crushed one of the odd birds, causing its fellows to flee the scene...
"We are attacked by Budgies of Doom and now you're making friends, Professor Crackle?" I craned my neck to try and see what he found so fascinating about the small form he tucked into his handkerchief. "Don't you see?" he said smiling like a child with a new toy. "It's a clockwork. It is a work of art. Someone built this incredible replica, no, not a replica. An automaton, correct down tot he minutes detail..."
Art is where you make it, in Doc Coleman's world. "I sidled up to Miss Bang as well followed and asked, "Does this sort of thing happen often? Automata? Buildings collapsing. Attacks in the park?..." Readers will have to buy the book to find the answer to that question. I found it well worth the price.
As all reviewers should confess when they have a personal connection to a book, I admit that I was a Beta reader of Doc Coleman's new novel during its development, and I've known Doc for some years. I also purchased the published copy of the kindle, so I'm a paying customer. - David W. Wooddell
Steampunk is not a genre I’m very familiar with. Prior to The Perils of Prague, I’ve only read and enjoyed one other story. I’m happy to say I’m 2 for 2 now, and happy to explore the genre further.
The Perils of Prague is book one in the Adventures of Crackle and Bang, and it is an incredibly fun joyride. Set in a surprising era, and in a fantastical world of sophisticated low-tech, the tale is as much a noir detective story as it is an exciting spy thriller that evokes the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Doc Coleman has a wonderfully refreshing writing style that is very sophisticated in its construction and effortless in its style. The writing is witty, joyful and piquant. There is a repeating conceit that is brilliant and inane - the main character's name. The name is ingenious, clever and used to great dramatic (if not comical) effect. I simply cannot wait to read more of the Adventures of Crackle and Bang.
I absolutely adored the plot and setting of this novel. The main character's situation is intriguing, and the people he interacts with are colorufl and varied. It's a great mystery and adventure to sink into, and I recommend it.