These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.
This week’s Æther Feature the Ministry ventures into the world of Ticker, a new book by Lisa Mantchev.
I had plans with Violet to walk the Strand and do a bit of shopping, but the day dawned dreary and gray. By mid-morning, the rain was coming down by the bucketloads. With a sigh, I tapped out a message on the Ripley’s Personal Aethergraph strapped to my ribboned leg garter.
WE SHOULD WAIT FOR NICER WEATHER ~ STOP ~ PERHAPS ANOTHER DAY ~ QUERY MARK
A second later, a series of dots and dashes gave me my answer.
INDEED ~ STOP ~ EVEN A PRODIGIOUS BUMBERSHOOT WOULD BE OF LITTLE USE JUST NOW ~ STOP
Though I was sad to miss a visit to SugarWerks, the morning needn’t go entirely to waste. Determined to catch up on my correspondence, I settled down in my chair.
A blustery day is perfect for letter-writing.
Though it took me more than a quarter-hour to sufficiently clean off the desk so as to be able to access both stationery and a fountain pen, it was with a bit of satisfaction that I rang down to the kitchen for a tea tray. Dreadnaught arrived just as I was tying back my hair with a bit of ribbon: a necessary precaution, in that I had a tendency to end up with the tail end in the ink well.
“Tea and fresh scones, Miss Farthing. Also the post, a message cylinder that arrived via the Calliope, and a few parcels.”
I immediately unwrapped the largest of the brown paper packages, gratified to see that it was, in fact, Felix Bertram’s Field Guide to Lepidoptera Mechanika, Second Edition.
“Not exactly the sort of day for catching mechanical Butterflies, is it?”
Dreadnaught permitted herself a small smile as she poured out the tea. “That it is not.” She paused a second to flex her left hand, carefully concealed by the gloves she never removed.
“Ache in your joints?” I glanced at it with professional curiosity, but she only shook her head.
“Nothing I cannot endure,” she said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must attend to luncheon.” Without waiting for dismissal, she exited, accompanied by the tap-tap-tap of her heels on the floor and the swish of formidable taffeta.
With a sigh, I crammed a similarly formidable bite of scone into my mouth and settled down to work.
To the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences:
Thank you kindly for your recent query in regards to the attention currently devoted to me in the broadsheets. The emergency transplant was performed by Doctor Calvin Warwick (specialist in residence at Currey Hospital.) While I am not at liberty to share the schematics for my clockwork heart, I would be more than happy to put you in touch with Doctor Warwick for a more technical discussion of both its capabilities and limitations.
That said, it was only the first of several Augmentation procedures here in Bazalgate. We’ve already experienced great success with one Miss Evangeline Dreadnaught, fitting her with a prosthetic hand to replace one badly mangled in a factory accident. She is now currently employed in the role of chatelaine here at Glasshouse, and coping marvelously.
The Farthing Gears & Rivets Factory is currently undergoing renovation so that we might produce the fittings necessary for more Augmentation procedures. My brother, Copernicus, is overseeing Research and Development.
Miss Penelope Farthing
Ticker by Lisa Mantchev
A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.
When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.
On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?
Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.
Lisa Mantchev is a temporally-displaced Capricorn who casts her spells from an ancient tree in the Pacific Northwest. She is best known as the author of the young adult fantasy trilogy, The Théâtre Illuminata. Published by Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
The series includes the Andre Norton and Mythopoeic awards-nominated EYES LIKE STARS (2009), PERCHANCE TO DREAM (2010), and SO SILVER BRIGHT (2011.)
Her picture books STRICTLY NO ELEPHANTS and SISTER DAY! are forthcoming from Paula Wiseman Books/S&S.