Whitechapel Gods

Whitechapel Gods

3.4 18
by S. M. Peters
     
 

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A thrilling new Steampunk fantasy from a talented debut author

TWO GODS-ONE CHANCE FOR MANKIND

In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the

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Overview

A thrilling new Steampunk fantasy from a talented debut author

TWO GODS-ONE CHANCE FOR MANKIND

In Victorian London, the Whitechapel section is a mechanized, steam-driven hell, cut off and ruled by two mysterious, mechanical gods-Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. Some years have passed since the Great Uprising, when humans rose up to fight against the machines, but a few brave veterans of the Uprising have formed their own Resistance-and are gathering for another attack. For now they have a secret weapon that may finally free them-or kill them all...

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The Whitechapel neighborhood of Victorian London has fallen under the control of a pair of mechanical "gods" and sits behind an impenetrable wall. Once an Uprising failed to break the tyranny of the Boiler Men, but now another resistance movement is growing-this one with a secret weapon that might free them or destroy the city. Peters's first novel evokes the grittiness of industrial dystopia, adding an element of the supernatural that gives an eerie twist to a familiar venue. A good addition to most dark fantasy collections.


—Jackie Cassada

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451461933
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/05/2008
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
668,243
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 10.98(h) x 1.02(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

With a hiss of steam, mechanisms inside the walls shot a steel beam across the door as Aaron slammed it and leapt away. Something struck the door from the other side with a deafening impact, and the surface of the steel door bent into an impression of knuckles twice the size of a man's.

Searching his coat pockets for a weapon, Aaron stumbled back into Joseph, who grabbed him by the shoulder and shook him.

"Lad," Joseph cried. "There's no way out!"

Aaron threw off the older man's hand and shoved past him onto the walkway.

"There's always a way."

But there wasn't. Barely visible through the currents of smog and falling ash, the walkway took a sharp, downward twist, ending in a tangle of rent braces. It was a gap of almost thirty feet to the other tower; in between, only hot, stinking wind and a hundred-story drop to the street below.

Joseph moved up beside him and wrapped his white-knuckled ham-fists around the bent rail. "Tell me ye've got some flying machine in them pockets of yours, lad," he said between clenched teeth.

Another impact cut the air as Aaron frantically dug through the many pockets of his greatcoat. His fingers closed over lenses, tools, dynamite, compasses, devices for measuring pressure and voltage, and a dozen other objects whose function he could not remember just then. Nothing that could provide a crossing. With a shock of realisation, he willed his hands still.

"It was here," he said. "I checked on it just an hour ago."

"Bugger all." Joseph slammed one fist down on the rail and looked up into the muddy sky. "A damn dog deserves better," he said. Then he bent forward and began to pray quietly.

Aaron struggled to control his suddenly rapid breath. "There's a way, Joseph. I just need to think."

"Not every problem falls to thinkin'" was the reply.

On the next impact, one of the bolt's fittings popped loose from the wall and the door fell open an entire inch.

"If it had been any other walkway..." Aaron looked to both sides, where similar walkways stretched between the two hulking buildings.

"Aye, but it isn't," Joseph said, drawing a heavy army revolver from his jacket pocket. "I think it's time ye made yer peace, lad. Let's make a fight of it."

"One cannot fight the Boiler Men," said Aaron, suppressing the chill in his stomach and wishing he hadn't sounded so certain.

"We'll see" was Joseph's reply.

Trembling, Aaron withdrew a tin box from one of his pockets. He unscrewed the lid and looked at the thin coiled strip of paper inside. Coded letters ran its length in small type.

Think...

A boot sheathed in iron slammed into the bottom corner of the door, folding it up like tin. Unblinking electric light spilled from the hole onto the walkway, mingling with the hazy glare from the towers above.

Aaron quickly screwed the lid back onto the box and wished he'd had the time to decode it. He withdrew a stick of dynamite and a pack of matches, conscious that the walkway was too small to escape the explosion when it came.

How many times had he been told that he must be ready to die for England?

How many times had he told others the same thing?

He readied a match and waited.

There must be a way...

The air shuddered as a blast of steam exploded through the hole in the door. It struck Joseph first and the Irishman's scream cut the night. As the white cloud crashed over him, Aaron threw his arms in front of his face. Too late: the steam swept over his hands and head, scorching every inch of exposed skin. The pain drove him to his knees. He crawled blindly towards the walk's edge, where he pitched his head over the end and took a laboured breath of the foul Whitechapel air, collapsing into a fit as the ashes and grit sanded his raw lungs.

He heard the door pop loose from its hinges with one final strike and felt it clatter to the walkway, and he realised they would never escape.

There's a way

Aaron's eyes quivered open. He spotted Joseph's twitching form through the dissipating steam and dragged himself towards his friend. His raw fingers tore on the walk, a sting even more painful than the fire all over his skin.

Aaron grasped Joseph's sleeve. "There's a way!"

Joseph's eyes streamed tears as he cried and screamed. Aaron shoved the tin box into Joseph's hands and forcibly closed the old man's fingers around it.

"Aaron!" Joseph said. "I can't get up! I can't…"

Aaron shoved the tin closer to the man's chest.

"You can take it back," he choked out. "Find someone who can read it."

Without waiting for an answer, he planted his foot on Joseph's chest and shoved. The other man let out a yelp before rolling backwards off the walk and into space. In seconds, the grey of Whitechapel's smog swallowed him, though his muted scream echoed from the towers for some moments longer.

The pounding of iron-shod feet shook the air. Aaron stared down after his falling friend, crying freely.

You'd probably want me to die on my feet.

Aaron slung one arm over the bent railing and hauled himself up. He turned to the monstrous shapes silhouetted in the doorway's glow. The gaze of those cold, glass eyes made him shriveled and small, and he found he could not stop shaking.

He wished he'd chosen a different walkway. He wished he hadn't lost the matches. He wished he'd done a thousand things differently.

The Boiler Men reached for him with iron hands and he wished most of all that he wasn't about to die.

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Whitechapel Gods: 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
This was my first foray into the "steam punk" genre of SciFi/Fantasy. I found it to be a worthwhile read. The characters were very beleivable given the situation they found themselves in. I found the "gods" Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock to be the most fascinating characters. I've always been interested in characters that are precieved as evil when in my opinion they are simply entities that have no "human morals" so they do what they need to survive. I'm not sure how much of this review anyone may find helpful, but here you go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has me searching for steampunk everywhere.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I'd been interested in the steampunk genre for a few months before getting this book, this was the first steampunk novel I read, and if I wasn't hooked on the genre before, I certainly was when I finished. The characters are likable, the plot is engaging, the story is extremely original, and there is even the slightest hint of romance- which is as of yet uncommon for steampunk. Not to mention I couldn't help but smile every time I looked at the cover. The only negative I can think of with this book is that the settings are so wild and so original that Peters obviously had trouble describing them, because I found at various points throughout that I couldn't quite envision what was happening. Other that that, this was a FANTASTIC book which I would recommend to anyone interested in the steampunk genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bravewarrior More than 1 year ago
This book has such a cool cover, but it such a slow book. I struggled through it. It's a Steampunk book (what all the cool kids are reading). There's spies, double agents, triple agents.... I didn't hate it. Just expected more.
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CillianRune More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Steampunk, the cover is the best Steampunk cover ever made, the plot had 5 stars in creativity and inventiveness, I was salivating in anticipation when I saw it on the shelve and, and... Nothing. If only there was a story things would have gone better for me. The whole book was plain boring, the characters were flat and nothing really happens, Oliver and his team are always "on a mission" but never really fulfiling anything. It keeps jumping from one character to the other, but nothing is of vital importance to keep the readers attention. The atmosphere was indeed spooky, but I wish the author took more time describing The Stack. My conclusion is that the author is full of brilliant ideas, he only needs to add depth to his characters and develop a story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Whitechapel in Victorian London is no longer a part of Great Britain and hasn¿t been since 1877 when the wall came up making it a separate entity. It is ruled by two mechanical beings Grandfather Clock and Mama Engine both of whom have no regards for humanity. They are able to turn men, women and children into half human half machines who keep humanity and are backed up by the Boiler Men who were never human to begin with but are nevertheless thinking warlike machines.---------------- When humanity rebelled in the Uprising, the death toll was in the thousands. Humanity post Uprising lives in squalor under the rule of Baron Hume who rules humanity. His underling John Sacred, in love with Mama Engine devises a way to kill Grandfather Clock and gives the schematics of the device to Aaron, a member of the underground. He and his two men are caught but he passes the papers to one of his men who falls, several feet unable to die. He waits for someone to get the papers and put him out of his missing and members of the resistance do but building the device and putting it into Grandfather clock seems impossible then there is the question of destroying Mama Engine.----------- Whitechapel is an inconvenient truth of a neighborhood of twisted building, polluted air that comes from the many factories of Mama Engine¿s great projects. It is a surrealistic scene out of Dante¿s Inferno except for the fact that most of the residents are humans. There are many heroes in this book, willing to die if it means destroying the two mechanical gods. S.M. Peters is an author whose work is so refreshingly original the audience will be on the lookout for future societal satires from him.-------------- Harriet Klausner