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The Martian Ambassador

(Blackwood and Harrington #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  367 ratings  ·  61 reviews

It has been six years since the discovery of intelligent life on Mars, and relations between the two worlds are rapidly developing. Three-legged Martian omnibuses stride through the streets and across the landscape, while Queen Victoria has been returned to the vigour of youth by Martian rejuvenation drugs. Victorian computer technology is proceeding
Paperback, 350 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Snowbooks
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Average rating 3.43  · 
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ᴥ Irena ᴥ

I've decided to err on the positive side and rate this higher rather than lower.

I didn't like parts of this book, so let's get that out of the way. So many times after a fast-paced scene that desperately needed a proper resolution you got a long-winded description of one thing/person/place or another or the characters are like 'the world is ending, let's sit and talk'. Then, you have some unnecessary detailed explanations for the things that are quite obvious. Oh, even though there is a comm
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
A quick, fun, melodramatic read. However, the prose is functional at best, and in places embarrassingly bad. The dialogue never rises above risible, more or less exclusively composed of exposition and dumbass questions designed to provoke yet more exposition, all of it wooden.

The plot hinges on stupidity, and makes zero logical sense. Early on in the book it's revealed that there is an agent provocateur trying to start a war. Both sides know this fact, and who is responsible, yet for some reason
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
I like reading science fiction/fantasy but this is my first venture into the realms of steampunk I was curious to see for myself what all the fuss was about in this revitalised genre. However, I seem to be in the minority in my opinion but I have to say I was disappointed - I thought it started out strong with great ideas and interesting characters I liked Thomas and Sophia they made a nice combination, I am a fan of Star Trek so enjoyed the idea of Mars and Earth joining forces and sharing tech ...more
Willem van den Oever
Borrowing heavily and entirely without shame from H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”, “the Martian Ambassador” takes place in England of 1899 where, after first contact, Martians are now living among men. The extra-terrestrials in this book are a peaceful race, and being technically more advanced, have helped humanity to make great leaps forward in the fields of technology, transport and science.
But the delicate partnership is put under stress when the Martian ambassador in London dies while attend
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
(Repost from
Steampunk? Love it. However, that doesn't always apply to the books with those trappings. Unfortunately, The Martian Ambassador falls into this category. However, it still manages to be a decent read, and would definitely be better for a YA audience.

The Martian Ambassador manages the description 'an eclectic read' in a whole new way: a steampunk detective tale - with, uh, space travel, aliens and faeries. Imagination isn't at fault here, and
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Well this is a jolly romp. It's written in the style of H.G.Wells and/or Arthur Conan Doyle and is (once you get used to the slightly eccentric - or is it dated? - style) good fun. The Martian Ambassador has been murdered and our noble hero, Blackwood, has been instructed to investigate. This is really James Bond in the Steampunk era; zeppelins and tripods go hand in hand with faeries, magik and aliens. ...more
Simon Gosden
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Grand stiff upper-lip steam punk adventure set in 1899, six years after the discovery of intelligent life on Mars. Sadly, the Martian Ambassador is found dead, presumably murdered and it's up to Thmoas Blackwood and the ever-so delightful Lady Sophia Harrington to find out what the deuce is going on. ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-books
I don't think I've ever encountered a book so in need of a good hard going over by a talented editor before. And I don't think I've ever read a book where I wanted to remove two whole chapters for not adding a damn thing to the story. Especially when the second chapter in question completely strips all the momentum of the story and is such a complete and total slog to get through.

This book didn't start well for me... the first chapter is mostly pointless, I understand why it's there, but you rea
Richard Howard
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2019
**Warning: this text may contain spoilers** Steampunk generally starts by assuming a kink in the - usually Victorian - development of science, and then imagines what might happen. At its best, as in Gibson Serling's 'The Difference Engine', it asks 'What if Babbage had built his calculating machine and ushered in the computer age a century early?' At its worst we get 'The Martian Ambassador' where all pretence of logic is thrown to the wind and the author, who seems to have no idea of physics at ...more
Jun 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
As another reviewer pointed out, very little is mysterious in this book. Everything is spelled out in excruciating detail. The characters are exactly as they appear on the surface (well, except for one). When we are privy to their thoughts, they don't think anything that would add depth to what we already know about them. The relationship between Earth and Mars is exactly as it is reported to be (peaceful). The villain is exactly as he appears to be (evil). His identity, plans and motives are re ...more
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Great idea, grindingly slow writing. Author is of the school who believes that every move a character makes must be chronicled, in painful detail. ("Lady Sarah ascended the steps to the door. She turned the knob, opened the door and crossed the threshold. She walked across the marble floor to the reception desk ..." That's not a direct quote, but it's not far off.) This was very disappointing, because I loved the concept: the author has fun with references to "War of the World," Sherlock Holmes, ...more
John Sklar
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
That was an odd book, but good. Interesting premise in the late 1800's the human race and the Martians make contact. The world is just slightly different than our history and makes for a fascinating story told in an old style that is charming and quite honestly, engrossing. The adventure is a bit far fetched but still fun to read and the book has a wonderful allusion to climate science. If we ruin this world, do we have one to go to? That is the dilemma faced by one group in this story. ...more
Bitchy Ghost
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting look into life in an England where the Martians of HG Wells come in peace instead of war.

The story is interesting and the mystery reads like something from a Sherlock Holmes novel.

The only thing that kept me from fully enjoying the book is that the author couldn't decide if the heroine should be a damsel in distress or a bad ass. Sometimes changing themes in the same scene.

Hopefully things change with the next book.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it liked it
A bizarre combination of steam punk and fantasy, though the Fairy angle eventually pushed it a little too far into the realm of silly. The dialogue seemed a little stiff, though this is set in Victorian England, so maybe it fits, along with the stiff and very proper tentative relationships. The fun combination of ideas made this light reading.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not really a fan of Steam punk.

There, I said it.

Actually, there's few x-punk genres that click with me.

And the writing in this book isn't superb. I mean, the bad guys weren't very interesting.

And yet, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Even with it's flaws.
Nahhan Fisal
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This was just a very 3 star book. Plot was interesting, predicted some of it, but it caught my attention. What I didn’t like was how Sophia just seemed like a damsel in distress and Thomas was her knight in shining armour. Very annoying.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was Steampunk sprinkled with a little fairy dust.
Not as dark as some other steamers I've read. Looking forward to the next book.
Arthur Stewart
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clever and witty

Excellent first novel in, currently, a trilogy. Victorian Britain in peaceful relations with Mars! Intriguing backstory and very interesting characters.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
awesome book but i think it needs a more exciting plot
Bryony Allen
Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Martian Ambassador (Paperback)
This was one of the best books I have read in a while. I was a little dubious at first, just because I had no idea what 'steampunk' was. I'm not sure that I do now, but it doesn't matter. The story was entertaining from start to finish, with a well plotted and executed story line that was intricate yet not too complicated.
I loved the characters, especially the hero and heroine, Blackwood and Lady Sophia Harrington, and they have so much more mileage left in th
Ade Couper
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
This isn't too bad: the start of a new steampunk series , which definitely has possibilities....

The year is 1899 : someone is trying to provoke a war between Earth & Mars , & Thomas Harrington , special agent to Queen Victoria , must find out who murdered the Martian ambassador: at the same time , Spring-Heeled Jack is murdering civilians (& injuring a soldier). Lady Sophia Harrington of the Institute of Psychical Research is on the case....

The book is well-written , & is structured in 4 "episod
Apr 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was really looking forward to this, as I'm in the middle of my steampunk phase. Everything including brass, Victorian style, mad inventions and goggles ... gimme gimme gimme.

Sadly this was not one of the better ones. Even though its the start to a series I'm not inclined to get the next book in line. the characters are nicely built up, but with a few inconsistencies, which made reading it more annoying than enjoyable. The main heroine is introduced as a sassy female, with a brilliant mind and
Anita Moll
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about the relationship between man and progress, and how our pursuit of progress and compounded with the ability to do so, without the tempering of wisdom, may eventually lead us to self-destruction. We would take well to learn from the Venusians example and look to the Martian society for guidance.

Here we are also introduced to Oberon, king of the fairies, and Scotland yard is represented by an organization known as the New Scotland Templars, descendants of the original Kn
Elizabeth Judd Taylor
Really a 3.5 but I was in the mood for something fast and a little silly so I'm rounding up. A fun steampunk mashup of War of the Worlds and possibly too many references to too many other things, but a quick and pretty satisfying adventure. The one thing that annoyed me slightly throughout the b0ok was the repeated use of the phrase "my dear" when referring to Sophia, which felt off (first of all because we kept being reminded that she was a Lady, so it seems a bit familiar, and secondly because ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Since this was my first experience concerning steampunk, I had no idea what to expect. I was, thankfully, pleasantly surprised, and really enjoyed the book. At some points it might have derailed a little, but only for short periods of time. I'm quite sure that I'll read the next Blackwood and Harrington Mystery as well.

As an extra note, I want to give credit to the designer of the cover. It's one of the most beautiful books I own. I, for one, don't expect much concerning design when buying a poc
Jun 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Not bad, but not brilliant.

The story is pretty good, and the world that Baker has constructed is interesting. Unfortunately the book is let down when the the writer tries to explain some of the more outlandish technology featured by plunging into these strange, pseudo-scientific tangents. Not only are they unnecessary, serving only to break reader immersion, but the attempt to fuse technology with mysticism is at best surreal and at times completely baffling.
The main characters are engaging en
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Goes a little too far in places, but overall a really rather delightful read. Steampunk and alien technologies are woven seamlessly into the alternate Victorian reality, as are the presence of alien beings. Whilst small details make this clearly a modern writer, he has done an excellent job of capturing the more endearing qualities of Victorian England, quickly warming the reader to his characters and drawing you into their world in a frankly enchanting fashion.
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
As many reviewers before me, I really liked the basic idea of this novel. After all, aliens interacting with humanity in a steampunk environment- what more could you wish for? Well, maybe a well-written story. I tried hard to enjoy this and I was interested in how the story would end, but the problem was that it became increasingly difficult to get myself to read it. The writing seems stiff and outright boring in many places. I honestly don't know if I regret reading this or not.
Sean Randall
Dec 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Steampunk is a genre I've not really been able to sink my teeth into. I find it rather unconvincing, and so it's an area I've let languish. The language of this one made it worth reading, and the roaring adventure of the story and compellingly eighteenth century characterisation kept it going. I'm tempted to say I won't read the next one ... but there was a sample chapter, you see ... and so maybe ... ...more
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