Leviathans in the Cloudsby David Parish-Whittaker, Steven Savile
Quantity surveying in the rain drenched swamps of Venus. How hard could it be? Endure a bit of rain, dig about where directed and Bob’s your uncle. To be sure, there were the local carnivorous lizards the size of houses, occasionally hostile natives and the local German colony, which had never proved particularly
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It all seemed so straightforward at first...
Quantity surveying in the rain drenched swamps of Venus. How hard could it be? Endure a bit of rain, dig about where directed and Bob’s your uncle. To be sure, there were the local carnivorous lizards the size of houses, occasionally hostile natives and the local German colony, which had never proved particularly reasonable when it came to servants of the Crown digging about in what they clearly felt was their back garden. But by now, that sort of thing was barely more troublesome than setting out an afternoon tea for the good crew of the Esmeralda II.
True, some might call a plan a touch problematic if it requires bailing out of an airship in a single-seat experimental glider while a Venusian storm rages. If said plan also involves landing in German-controlled territory in order to meet a marginally sane geologist named Jungle Ned, one might even call the whole affair tricky.
But things go from tricky to worse when they arrive at Ned’s hideout and find it ransacked and covered with indecipherable symbols. Of Ned there is no sign other than a single hidden note: The gods brought themselves down. Before they discover its meaning, our heroes will find there is more to Venus than just peat bogs and hungry fauna. Forgotten secrets linger in the mists. And sometimes what is forgotten is still very much alive…
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Simply marvellous old chap! From the very well-crafted dialogue, heavy with Victorian morals and attitudes, to the boundless adventure of intrepid explorers; this is a great story of exploration, danger and discovery set in the damp Venusian jungle. Manned gliders, saurial aid and dangerous native fauna provide a colourful backdrop to what begins as a scientific quest for a new ore. Our heroes are typical of the days' explorers - armed with intelligence, a sense of moral superiority, and a near endless supply of biscuits. Once they discover the all too human designs behind the mysterious recent goings-on, the resolution becomes one of high drama and ultimately hope that common sense and rightness will prevail. A really enjoyable read - well worth your time!