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The Martian Ambassador (Blackwood and Harrington, #1)
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The Martian Ambassador

(Blackwood and Harrington #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  57 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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Charlotte (Buried in Books)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
Il genere fantascienza non mi è mai interessato granché: l’unica eccezione, per quanto ricordo, è stata la Guida galattica per autostoppisti e seguiti, che comunque considero abbastanza “sui generis” (oh già, e anche il Ciclo di Eymerich: anche lì tuttavia ad attirarmi da principio era stata l’ambientazione medievale). In ogni caso, è stato principalmente merito del titolo, bello e curioso, se ho deciso di dare una possibilità al libro di Alan K. Baker.

In realtà questo romanzo appartiene più al
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
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Prima parte ok, seconda così così.
Comincia bene, poi si perde strada facendo.
Lati positivi: ambientazione evocativa, linguaggio utilizzato per i dialoghi forbito ed affascinante, idee profuse a piene mani, personaggi che all'inizio sembrano attraenti.
I problemi vengono fuori un pò più avanti nella lettura: innanzitutto svelare subito il cattivo a metà del romanzo non è una mossa saggia, perchè toglie appeal al romanzo stesso.
In secondo luogo i personaggi non vengono approfonditi più di tanto, nè
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
Ho trovati molto gradevoli le commissioni di generi, dallo steam punk alla fantasy, il tutto ben radicato nell'immaginario del xix secolo. I personaggi sono abbastanza ben delineati e di e, per chi ama Verne, Wells, Conan Doyle e Lovecraft, le citazioni sono sempre gustose. Attenzione: è l'inizio di una serie di cui non mi sembra siano stati pubblicati gli altri volumi in Italia.
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
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.
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.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-read
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
Maura Heaphy
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
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.
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.
Ferdinand Digiuseppe
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
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chi adora protagonisti intelligenti e con buone maniere.
Recensione pubblicata su Cronache di Betelgeuse

Ci troviamo di fronte a un’avventura steampunk davvero ben scritta, che riesce a trascinarti pagina dopo pagina alla scoperta di una Londra Vittoriana molto diversa, popolata da strane macchine e creature aliene.

Il protagonista è Thomas Blackwood, un investigatore speciale che lavora presso l’Ufficio Affari Clandestini di Sua Maestà. Assomiglia a un nostro agente segreto, che però ha dei modi impeccabili e una certa ritrosia a utilizzare i mezzi più
Hanno fatto il deserto e l'hanno chiamato "progresso"

Lo confesso, ho comprato il libro perchè il titolo suonava davvero molto bene. E anche per il dirigibile in copertina. Sono una donna superficiale *lol*

La storia si è rivelata molto piacevole: è un giallo "classico", quindi niente modernissime tecniche d'investigazione, al contrario, i protagonisti scorrazzano da una parte all'altra alla ricerca di indizi; l'elemento fantascentifico è un'ulteriore aggiunta che rende il romanzo più interessante
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
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 structu
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
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
Roger Kelly
Jul 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is a real mish-mash.

It is a mix of sci-fi, steampunk and fantasy.

Set in a world where the Victorians traded with Martians and shared their technology, the protagonists are called upon to investigate the assassination of the Martian ambassador.

A lot of the plot elements are shared with other books from other books in the genre such as the Newbury and Hobbes or Burton and Swinburne series. And it in this comparison where this book doesn't hold up well. These others rest firmly within th
Jota Houses
Nov 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Vaya mesecito que llevo. Se trata de un asalto en toda regla al genero steampumk. Tópicos victorianos apilados sin orden ni concierto fracasan en el intento de crear una tensión narrativa o por lo menos una secuencia lógica. Marcianos, crímenes, penny dreadful, científicos locos, servicio secreto británico, la reina Victoria, las hadas, los mitos de Lovecraft; todo vale. Pero lo que no hay es un misterio, ni personajes mas allá de los arquetipos mas básicos. Una perdida de tiempo que me hace sub ...more
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
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