Saturday, 4 September 2010
Pax Britannia: Unnatural History
After a hard day's work defending the Empire or out hunting there is nothing more than a gentleman likes to do than sit down with a good port, a fine cigar and a cracking H. Rider Haggard adventure. Sadly with Haggard being dead and all, he won't be writing any new yarns and one can only read King Solomon's Mines so many times without becoming a tad bored. Fortunately the old Memsahib has come across a new series of penny dreadfuls that she spotted whilst looking for the latest bodice-ripper.
Under the banner of Pax Britannia, the first one I read was called Unnatural History by a wordsmith called Jonathan Green (who is a teacher during the day and hopefully gives the whelps in his workhouse a jolly good thrashing before meals). The novels are unusually set at the end of the twentieth century in a world where the sun never sets on the Empire and Queen Victoria still sits on her throne (hurrah!). There is some weird scientific romance stuff to explain all this including babbage machines (a kind of thinking typewriter) and aerial ships.
The hero of our adventure is one Ulysses Quicksilver, on the surface a bit of a dandy, but secretly an agent for the Queen. His mission is to track down the Professor of Evolutionary Biology who has gone missing from the Natural History Museum, but soon he is fighting villains on the London Overground, hunting down escaped dinosaurs through the streets of London, fighting anarchists in flooded Underground tunnels and uncovering corruption in the heart of government and a threat to Her Majesty!
All in all a spiffing tale to be enjoyed by gentlemen (and boys of an appropriate age) after dinner in the drawing room once the Memsahib has retired, preferably with a glass of port or a stiff brandy (for the gentlemen only).