The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, with its head office located at the heart of the Empire, London, is here to solve these mysterious happenings that leave normal law enforcement officials baffled.
Located in a secret location near the river Thames, this is the Ministry that protects all citizens of the Empire from the occult, the paranormal and from secret societies bent on bringing down Old Blighty.
We take only the best, the brightest and the bravest men and women from all the dominions and outposts of civilisation. They are here to protect every one of the citizens of the Empire from threats that would haunt their dreams…if they but knew.
We stand by our motto Umbris occultati, contra furorem.
Awards and Honours
- Winner RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for steampunk 2014
- Finalist RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for steampunk 2015
- Steampunk Chronicle 2014 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Fiction (The Ministry Protocol)
- 2013 Parsec Award for Best Speculative Fiction Magazine or Anthology Podcast (Tales from the Archives: Volume 2)
- Steampunk Chronicle 2013 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Fiction (The Janus Affair)
- #7 Best Science Fiction of 2012 on Goodreads.com (The Janus Affair)
- #8 Best Science Fiction of 2011 on Goodreads.com (Phoenix Rising)
- Locus Magazine Bestseller in September 2012 (The Janus Affair)
- 2012 Parsec Award for Best Short Story: Small Cast 2012 (“The Precarious Child” by Pip Ballantine)
- 2012 Parsec Award for Best Short Story: Large Cast 2012 (“The Seven” by PC Haring)
- Steampunk Chronicle 2012 Reader’s Choice Award for Short Story (‘Dust on the Davenport’)
- 2011 Airship Award for Best in Steampunk Literature (Phoenix Rising)
Reading Guide By Year
1839 – The formation of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, A Nocturne for Alexandrina
1840 – Foothold
1855 – Clockwork Portal
1859 – The Sun Never Sets
1858 – Kevin Robertson made Archivist, Wooden Go to Waste
1860 – Chinoserie
1863 – A Swan in Siam
1864 – Wellington Thornbill Books born in Yorkshire, England, The Incident of the Clockwork Mikoshi
1867 – Eliza D Braun born in Wellington, New Zealand
1869 – Blessings of Baalshemin
1871 – Why the Sea is Boiling Hot
1873 – Tangi a te ruru / The cry of the morepork in Steampunk World. Buy here.
1876 – The Boy, the Bomb, and the Witch Who Returned, St John Fount, is made Director of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences
1878 – The Astonishing Amulet of Amernartas
1879 – A Feast of Famine
1883 – The Cross of Columba
1885 – Bruce Campbell joins the Ministry
1886 – Brandon Hill joins the Ministry,Hanuman’s Gift
1888 – Sins of the Father (summer), Panther Nights
1889 – The Emperor’s Fist, Night’s Plutonian Shore, Our Lady of Monsters, The New Recruit, The Boy, the Bomb, and the Witch Who Returned.
1890 – To Hide in Plain Sight [February]
1891 – The Shadows of Calcutta, The Clockwork Samurai
1892 – The Wrong Camera, The Seven
1893 – A Trick of Strong Imagination, Positively Shocking [Spring], The Evil That Befell Sampson, Dust on the Davenport, From Paris With Regret, Those Dark Satanic
1894 – The Curse of the Silver Pharaoh, The Precarious Child, Merry Christmas Verity Fitzroy, Women of the Empire, Curtain Call, Darkest Before Darkwater, Mystery of the Thrice Dead Man, New London Calling, Under Oak Island, What the Turtles Saw, The Mummy of Barnsley
1895 – Bitter Pill [April], The Trouble with Phoenixes [May], Phoenix Rising [May to August], Silver Linings [September], Spirit of Christmas [December]
1896 – The Janus Affair [January-March], A Ruby in Rain [January], Spiritus Sanctus, Where the River Shines [February], Beneath Northumberland [March], Dawn’s Early Light [March-April], The Diamond Conspiracy [April]
1898 – Where the River Shines, The Ghost Rebellion [January], The Black Empress, Operation: Endgame
1900 – All That Glitters
Active Ministry Agents
Agent Eliza D Braun — New Zealand (re-assigned)
Agent Braun come to Head Office from the smallest outpost of the Ministry. Trained at an early age by her parents in the art of hand to hand combat, sharpshooting and pouring the perfect pint (all very necessary in this newest outpost of Empire), this agent worked her way through the various post New Zealand could offer.
She served her nation and the British Empire well at its farthest edge, but has recently be reassigned to the London office by her nation’s Prime Minister.
In the Archives, under the tutelage of Agent Books, she is developing a new set of skills that will only aid the Ministry into the future.
Agent Braun enjoys both fine art and fine dynamite.
Archivist Agent Wellington Thornhill Books — England
Agent Books is the Chief in Charge of the Archives of the Ministry. Like all of our agents, Books has learned basic training. So remember that if you ever borrow anything from the vaults!
Books, while not a field agent, does contribute to the running of the MoPO, with his efficient filing of cases, notes and evidence. The analytical engine he is responsible for installing in the Archives would be the envy of even a librarian of those hallowed halls of the British Library. That was if it were not completely classified, naturally.
Books has admitted to a gentlemanly interest in tinkering of all types. When not stacking and filing in the bowels of the Ministry he can be found messing about with cogs, steam and brass. Or making everyone a spot of tea.
Agent O’Toole is the daughter of Agent Melinda O’Toole, the first female agent in the Ministry. Following in her mother’s footsteps she has a reputation as a sweet and kind lady. However she is a ruthless negotiator, and (if that doesn’t work) a master of kendo, aikido, and shaolin. Serving as the Ministry’s liaison in Japan, Agent O’Toole’s specialty is in yūrei investigations and nensha cryptology. A remarkable trait with Agent O’Toole is her eyes which appear larger than usual, particularly when excited.
In her spare time she is a millenar and sword-smith.
Agent Brandon Hill — Canada
Agent Hill joined the London HQ after many years working in the field at the Canadian outpost.
Agent Hill is renowned for his superb knife- fighting skills – with a specialty in dealing with wild animals.
He once managed to trek across the icy tundra of Russia armed with only his faithful knife, pipe and toe-nail clippers. After a daring fight with a clutch of polar bears, he used their skins to fashion a fine seagoing vessel. This he used to sail home to Mother England his mission a success.
Agent Hill also collects tropical spiders in his spare time, and enjoys holidaying in wilds of Africa for just this purpose.
Photo by Brandon Hill
Agent Bruce Campbell — Australia
Born in the raging heat of Queensland, Australia, Agent Campbell was inducted early into the difficulties of life. His mother accidentally dropped him into a river infested with crocodiles. None can explain how he survived.
But from then on, good luck and good looks have always got him through any number of scrapes and adventures. After conquering the wildlife of his homeland, swimming the Tasman Sea, and winning nine of ten boxing fights in the kangaroo league, Agent Campbell came to the attention of the Ministry.
Rising through the ranks at first the Coober Pedie, then Darwin and finally the Sydney offices, Agent Campbell is currently on assignment to the London branch. Here he not only deals with the business in London, but also co-ordinates his compatriots back in the Australian branches.
Bruce bears the separation from his lovely wife, by indulging in all the manly sports that England can provide.
Agent Dominick Lochlear — Cape Colony
Known as a crack shot from his earliest day at school, Agent Lochlear represented the Cape Colony at the Pan-Brittanic games at the age of eighteen years.
At the age of twenty Agent Lochlear joined the MoPO and rose swiftly through the ranks. By twenty-five he was in charge of the Cape Colony office.
He is now working from the London office as liaison.
Agent Lochlear still maintains a healthy interest in sharp shooting.
Agent Maulik Smith — India
Agent Smith is very new to the London Head Office of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.
He specialises in the occult and has studied under the mystics of the east, the shaman of the American plains, and the thaumaturges of the Alps.
Injured after a terrible fire, Agent Smith relies heavily on the latest McTuige breathing apparatus to sustain his mortal existence, but remains a valuable member of the team.
Agent Smith will not admit to any hobbies beyond the walls of the Ministry.
Photo by S Lesnik
From the Emerald Isle comes Agent Althea Galway. Working between our Dublin and London offices, no one is more fluent in statistics and logistics than our Miss Galway. Add to her impressive credentials her talents of dialects and disguise, and this makes Althea Galway one of the greatest secrets within the Ministry’s ranks. Many agents worldwide have called upon her impressive mastery of foreign tongues and fact-checking, but her skills in the field only came to light due to an unexpected break in a Ministry investigation.
Althea Galway was commended by Doctor Sound for her ingenuity when infiltrating suspected hostiles hiding in plain sight. Her statistical work was instrumental in thwarting two assassination plots against Her Majesty the Queen, four acts of conspiracy within Parliament, and one dastardly plot to upset Lady Hainsworth’s High Tea. (The latter incident, known as “The Clotted Cream Caper of Canterbury,” is textbook material for Ministry recruits.); but it was her unauthorized work and subsequent breaking of “The Chinese Box Thefts” spree that led to her promotion.
Miss Galway’s first case — a deep undercover operation aboard the pirate airship Guy Fawkes — has ended in tragedy and mystery. Intelligence reports that the Guy Fawkes was shot down somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Miss Galway’s body has never been recovered and therefore she is considered missing, presumed dead.
Field agent Moira Templeton (Code name “Chinese Lantern”) serves the Ministry out of Shanghai, China. She has considerable skill in chemistry, particularly with plant toxins. Partnered with Agent Braun on several occasions, Agent Templeton earned several decorations for her work in the field, most notably the Chinese New Year’s Plot, and the discovery and safe transportation of the Jade Elephant of the Jin Dynasty. The child of British emissaries, she was raised in the company of Buddhist monks and political figures alike. As a result, she adapts to all functions from religious ceremonies to high society dinner parties with ease and speaks seven different languages fluently.
Despite the rumors, she firmly denies any participation in that messy business in Hong Kong involving a particular French Ambassador.
Photo by Starla Huchton
Second daughter of Lord Victor of Sidman Hall (new money… There are even rumors that the family is directly involved in industry), Lady Caroline preferred an alternative to being auctioned off to the highest (and highest connected) bidder. She eventually found her way to the Ministry, and with her love and passion for Ancient Civilizations, has found a place for herself in our Egyptian office. Fashionable as it is for the upper echelons of society, she makes an excellent spy as a result of her upbringing and connections there. Lady Caroline earned the respect of her fellow agents (and the fear of the House of Usher) in The Pharoah’s Affair case by unlocking the cypher connected with the ancient death ray hidden within one of the Giza Pyramids. On that assignment, Lady Caroline made it clear any man who attempts to take advantage of her striking face and pretty manners will quickly find himself at the mercy of her trusty ætheroscillator (shown here). Her family’s focus on marrying off their daughters has left her with something of a disdain for men.
Photo by Jamaila Brinkley
Dr. Axelrod’s greatest work has been in the field of matter transference. He has successfully removed matter, but is still fine tuning the recovery of it. Consequently there is a wonderful opportunity in the laboratory for a tall lad with nerves of steel. Dr. Axelrod is always looking for such men of character. (Please apply for the position with Miss Shillingsworth)
Addicted to the pursuit of science at an early age, Dr. Axelrod conducted his own experiments which resulted the unfortunate disappearance of part of Charing Cross (the portion that no one really missed). After this incident however Dr. Axelrod was taken under the tutelage of ‘Mad’ McTighe and the rest is history.
Dr. Axelrod enjoys big game fishing, tailoring his own garments and is currently building an ornithopter in his back garden with which he intends to use on the Grand Tour next year.
Photo by JR Blackwell
Engineer Agent Professor Josepha Raven Blackwell — England
The Head Researcher in the Development Division, Dr Blackwell is known for her foreward thinking work in massage devices for relieving female hysteria. Her devices have provided relief and calm to women all over the Empire.
She came to the Ministry straight from her finishing school in Switzerland- which had unexpectedly burnt to the ground.
Coincidentally Blackwell’s ether accelerator came into production shortly there after and quickly became a staple of ours agents’ arsenal.
Beyond the walls of the Ministry Blackwell has developed an interest in exotic fauna, and has been known to feed nosy landladies to her venus maximus nomminess. She is also quite the devoted croquet player.
Photo by JR Blackwell
Known Ministry Associates
Heiress to the Vanderfield fortune of Columbia, Maryland, and living in the bustling metropolis of Chicago, Illinois of the United States, Matilda B. Vanderfield is one of the most sought-after aviatrix in the world, known for assuring her cargo—be it important people or expensive properties—to reach their destinations safely and securely. While the reputation “If it’s got wings and a prop engine, Matilda can fly it. And if she loses an engine, Matilda can land it!” sounds like a wild boast, it is a a business ethic for Vanderfield. From her own private airfield Vanderfield makes her gravity-defying machinations and her talents available for Ministry agents when working in the former colonies.
Agent Eliza D. Braun highly recommends barnstorming with the socialite-daredevil. “Quite an exhilarating experience,” she says. “Does wonders to steel one’s self before a suicide mission.”
Photo by Marc Hauser
Ministry’s Most Wanted and Known Enemies
We know very little about this known associate of the House of Usher, but we have on good authority and further investigation of Sophia del Morte’s direct involvement with the following crimes:
- Affiliation with the Phoenix Society
- The murder of Agent Harrison Thorne
- The abduction of Agent Wellington Thornhill Books
- The assassination of Count Vladamir Olensov
- The assassination of Countess Illa Olensov
- The assassination of Duke William deSalle
Sophia del Morte is skilled in a variety of deviant arts including knives, sharpshooting, poisons, martial arts, and demolitions.
WARNING: If spotted, do not try to apprehend Sophia del Morte without full Ministry assistance. She is to be considered (always) armed and dangerous.
The first woman in Kentucky to receive a doctorate in the sciences, it was thought that Dr. Ravyn McCallister was destined to be one of the leading minds in chemical engineering and biology. Her brilliance, however, blinded her judgment and she found herself travelling the rails, offering her talents to the highest bidder. Known employers include:
- The House of Usher
- The Illuminati
- Methuselah’s Order
Photo by Hallie Wilson