Saturday, November 09, 2013

Review: Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.

Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders
Author:  Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.
Series:  The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin 1
Publisher:  47North, July 2, 2013
Format:  Trade Paperback and Kindle eBook, 456 pages
List Price:  $14.95 (print)
ISBN:  9781611099188 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

In a post-apocalyptic world of endless snow, Captain Romulus Buckle and the stalwart crew of the Pneumatic Zeppelin must embark on a perilous mission to rescue their kidnapped leader, Balthazar Crankshaft, from the impenetrable City of the Founders. Steaming over a territory once known as Southern California – before it was devastated in the alien war – Buckle navigates his massive airship through skies infested with enemy war zeppelins and ravenous alien beasties in this swashbuckling and high-octane steampunk adventure. Life is desperate in the Snow World – and death is quick – Buckle and his ship’s company must brave poisoned wastelands of noxious mustard and do battle with forgewalkers, steampipers and armored locomotives as they plunge from the skies into the underground prison warrens of the fortress-city.

Captain Romulus Buckle must lead the Pneumatic Zeppelin and its crew of never-do-wells on a desperate mission where he must risk everything to save Balthazar and attempt to prevent a catastrophic war which could wipe out all that is left of civilization and the entire human race.

Trinitytwo's Point of View:

Dashing and daring, Romulus Buckle is the adopted son of Admiral Balthazar Crankshaft, the chief of the Crankshaft clan. He is also the young captain of the Pneumatic Zeppelin, a prize dirigible that he stole from the Imperial Clan. Buckle soars over what was once California, in a post-apocalyptic Earth which was forever changed by an alien assault. This attack polluted Earth’s surface with a noxious gas and caused a climate of endless snow. The many clans of Snow World engage in small skirmishes but are not openly at war. Balthazar, along with the leaders of several other important clans, have been kidnapped during a recent attempt at peace talks. The Crankshaft clan has received intelligence that the clan leaders are being held in the mysterious fortress known as the City of the Founders. A rescue mission has been sanctioned but little is known about the Founders' defenses and much is rumored. Romulus and his loyal crew immediately volunteer even though the odds are slim that they will succeed, let alone survive.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK. Yes, I am aware I am emphasizing my point with the dreaded caplock, but I will not offer an apology. This swashbuckling quest set mainly aboard the Pneumatic Zeppelin was so fast paced and exciting, I finished it in one day. Romulus Buckle knows his steam powered airship like the back of his hand and, along with his assorted crew members, made the daring rescue attempt a pleasure. Richard Ellis Preston Jr.’s steampunk adventure is just like riding a great rollercoaster, a little slow going in the beginning, as the author acquainted the reader with the setting, but early on he hit the apex and once the car (or zeppelin in this case) began to accelerate it was pure adrenaline, exhilaration, wind in your face, no holds barred excitement. I was also impressed with the engineering details of the zeppelin. Preston managed to allow me to visualize the complicated workings that seemed mechanically sound without boring me in the slightest. The characters were well written and diverse. I am intrigued to learn more about their mysterious backgrounds as the series unfolds. The tone is jaunty and the novel is not intended for those looking for brooding introspection. Preston is an enthusiastic storyteller, spinning a tale of derring-do. I can’t wait to hop aboard the Pneumatic Zeppelin and take another wild ride in its upcoming adventure: Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War.


  1. Thank you for your descriptive and thought provoking account of this book. Definitely sounds like an interesting read. I appreciated your roller coaster analogy for sure!

  2. I agree with your review wholeheartedly! I loved Romulus Buckle and company and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.