Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus, Reviewed Created by ggrihn on 11/15/2017 8:24:46 PM
Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus, by Sean Patrick Little, reviewed by Gregory G.H. Rihn, Steampunk Chronicle Literary Editor
Attending TeslaCon Eight, I picked up my pre-ordered copy of the first TeslaCon ™ novel, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus. Glancing inside, I was a bit surprised, and, frankly, a bit disappointed, that the book is not a novelization of the year’s Immersion story, but dove into it with interest anyway.
Instead, Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus is a stand-alone Steampunk novel. The only connection to the TeslaCon milieu is the character of Lord Bobbins, who is not the viewpoint character, although he does drive the action. Characters familiar to TeslaCon attendees, like Admiral Krieger or Doctor Proctocus, are not part of the novel. A plus for the wider audience of readers is that you don’t have to be familiar with TeslaCon in order to understand and enjoy the book.
The book’s protagonist is Nicodemus Clarke, a former Union Army “sniper”, who has knocked around the world as a mercenary since the American Civil War’s end, and now is hoping to make a stake so he can retire and live a quiet rural life. Enter Lord Bobbins, who pulls Clarke out of a sticky spot, and makes him an offer he can’t refuse: fifty thousand American dollars, if Clarke will come with him to Romania, and investigate the weird goings-on around Bobbins’ recently acquired Carpathian castle. These include eerie hauntings, werewolf sightings, and the mysterious disappearance of local villagers.
Clarke has assistance from Dolly Shaw, Bobbins’ very competent bodyguard, and Nicola Tesla, who appears to be on retainer to Bobbins if not actually on his payroll.
Upon arriving in Romania, it soon appears that there’s skullduggery afoot, and Clarke, Bobbins, Shaw and Tesla are in the thick of it.
While the plot isn’t terribly original—someone wants Bobbins out of the castle for their own nefarious purposes—it is worked out with a light touch, and generally believable action in a Steampunk context. Clarke is the typical, rather bloody-minded, action hero who’s getting a bit old, and a bit tired, for the work. The characters of Bobbins, Tesla, and Shaw all have interesting quirks.
This is Mr. Little’s first Steampunk work and he gets the aesthetic mostly right, although he needs a bit of work on language, as there were a couple of terms thrown in that were jarring, “sniper”, for example, being one of them: “sharpshooter” was the term in use in the Union and Confederate armies at the time. (On the other hand, I was impressed that Little knew what a “clarence”—a type of horse-drawn carriage—was.)
Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus is an entertaining light read, comparing well with “spin-off” novels of other franchises. Recommended for fans of “Lord Bobbins,” but enjoyableod for all Steampunk fans.
Lord Bobbins and the Romanian Ruckus at Amazon