Nell Gwynne’s on Land and at Sea

Kage Baker and Kathleen Bartholomew. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $35 (176p) ISBN 978-1-59606-464-5
Even a month-long seaside holiday can’t keep the spy-mistresses of the exclusive Nell Gwynne brothel away from trouble in this comic steampunk novella. This time trouble arrives in the form of Tredway Pickett, an expatriate American yachtsman who seeks glory in the service of Queen Victoria by sinking French ships with his newly devised submarine. Revolutions breaking out all over Europe are tying up the operatives of the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, so the ladies are left to use their own ingenuity and a few “super science” devices to stop Pickett before he ignites war. Baker (1952–2010) originated the Nell Gwynne series with the Nebula-winning The Women of Nell Gwynne’s (2009), and her death left this episode incomplete; it was finished by Bartholomew, Baker’s sister. References to other books in the series will entice her fans, and the mildly naughty nautical double entendres and period-style illustrations by J.K. Potter will entertain readers who appreciate Victoriana. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 12/01/2012
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