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Dawn's Early Light

Dawn’s Early Light

Book Three

Working for the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, one sees innumerable technological wonders. But even veteran agents Braun and Books are unprepared for what the electrifying future holds…After being ignominiously shipped out of England following their participation in the Janus affair, Braun and Books are ready to prove their worth as agents. But what starts as a simple mission in the States—intended to keep them out of trouble—suddenly turns into a scandalous and convoluted case that has connections reaching as far as Her Majesty the Queen.Even with the help of two American agents from the Office of the Supernatural and the Metaphysical, Braun and Books have their work cut out for them as their chief suspect in a rash of nautical and aerial disasters is none other than Thomas Edison. Between the fantastic electric machines of Edison, the eccentricities of MoPO consultant Nikola Tesla, and the mysterious machinations of a new threat known only as the Maestro, they may find themselves in far worse danger than they ever have been in before…

Coming March 2014

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Phoenix Rising

Book One

Министерство особых происшествий in Russia and Das Zeichen des Phönix in Germany

#8 Best Science Fiction of 2011 on

Winner of the 2011 Airship Award for best written steampunk

These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the river Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences- the Crown’s clandestine organisation whose baliwick is the strange and unsettling- will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness  for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest..and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books along with her into the perilous fray.

For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun- he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices- must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot… or see England fall to the Phoenix.

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Die Janus-Affäre

The Janus Affair

Book Two

Readers Choice WinnerDie Janus-Affäre in Germany.

#7 Best Science Fiction of 2012 on

Locus Bestseller

Winner of the 2012 Steampunk Chronicle’s Readers Choice Award for Best Fiction

Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain’s Best-kept secret agents!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain’s latest hyper steam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance…with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books…and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

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Reviews for the Janus Affair

Night Owl Reviews Top Pick
The Janus Affair provides action, mystery, undercurrents of a personal nature and a pace that is sure to keep a reader’s interest. The blend of story, characters, action, mystery, and humor worked really well. The combination of Eliza Braun’s tough, opinionated exterior and her soft interior with Wellington Books’ bookish, somewhat fumbling exterior and his hidden depths is a wonderful dynamic. What I liked (aside from the gadgets) is how well the two seeming opposites work well together in solving the case, that a few things here and there are shown about Wellington’s and Eliza’s pasts and how it affects them and how they interact with each other. Very nice read and I look forward to seeing what will come next.
Night Owl Reviews

I can’t recommend this book more highly for fans of steampunk. Everything about it was wonderful and left me eagerly anticipating the third novel!
Nerdy Life of Mine

…a rollicking adventure series of the finest order, the sort you’d have read as a serial in the 1890s or heard as a radio drama in the 1920s. Gadgets, explosions, romance, zeppelins, captures, escapes, sword fighting…
The Ranting Dragon

It was an amazing read, filled with wonderful characters, detailed world building, and an intriguing plot. This is my favorite steam punk series and I cannot wait for the next installment…I can’t recommend this book more highly for fans of steam punk. Everything about it was wonderful and left me eagerly anticipating the third novel!

Bad Ass Book reviews

I LOVED this book. The only reason why I haven’t given it a 5* is that I am fully expecting the next novel to be a 5 and I don’t want to wear the 5’s out. Morris and Ballantine just get better and better with Eliza and Welly, and I have difficulty thinking of anything I didn’t like about the characters or the world in which these authors set the story. I have read THE JANUS AFFAIR several times now and I am delighted every time. Describing a novel as delightful might sound trite but there isn’t a better word to describe a book that keeps your interest and makes you laugh each time you read it.

Book Chick City

The Janus Affair is far more of a steampunk book with lashings of romance, it seems more comfortable in that slot, and the writers voices are stronger and more assured throughout because of it. Some loose ends are tied up and others are left deliberately flapping in the breeze to be followed up in future installments. At the end Eliza and Wellington looked set to travel to the United States, I do hope that’s the focus of the next book, because I’d love to see them set loose on an unsuspecting American populace.

Travels through lest

Ballantine and Morris have exceeded themselves with an excellent tale of intrigues and machinations as Books and Braun try to track down the missing women and discover who is behind their disappearances, Douglas attempts to renew his romance with Eliza, and Wellington discovers feelings of jealousy he hadn’t been aware of. On top of all this, there is a traitor in the Ministry, working to bring the Ministry down. The book is beautifully written. The characters are real, and the dialog rings true in a wonderfully snarky way.

Swimming Cat Studios

If you are a fan of steampunk, historical fiction, X-Files, spy stories, romance, explosions or, most particularly, all of the above, then I’ll wager that you will love this series as much as I do.

Begin at the Beginning

Another delightful and cleaver read. The plot was both well thought-out and enjoyable.

Wolfy’s UFO Obsession

All in all, a deliciously good read and a great follow-up to the 1st book! I highly recommend this series if you haven’t tried it yet. Especially if you are thinking about dipping your toes in the steampunk genre. You won’t be disappointed! As for me, I’m going to be impatiently waiting for the next book to come out. Highly recommended!

Books on a Feeling

The madcap schemes and intricate plots are on par with classic whodunit mysteries. The story has amazing humor, non-stop adventure and action, and yes… romance!

-That’s What I’m Talking About

But what I found to be the most dynamic aspect of the novel (aside from a few literal laugh out loud moments…”humor” should include a detailed tintype of the writers’ faces in the dictionary), is the effortless manner in which these two writers wove together such a seamless story. There are little, if any, differentiations between their two individual voices and I felt The Janus Affair was tailored expertly and tightly woven, not unlike an elegant leather corset with a strong foundation and bright bits and bobs of clockwork brilliance that leaves the reader wrapped securely and held delighted beneath each thread. Highly, highly recommended.

LitStack Review


…an absolutely rollicking read, chock full of danger, disaster, and of course the devilish duo of Wellington Books and Eliza Braun. The mystery that these two agents are solving this time is, if possible, even more sinister and heart-troubling than the one found in the first Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novel.

Heart to Heart Books

Even more thrilling than it’s predecessor, The Janus Affair is filled with even more sketchy characters, hilarious dialogue, drop-down drag-out fights, and more scenes with my favorite Italian lady assassin: Sophia del Morte. Hell yes, she had a lot more scenes in this book than the first, so I got my wish! She stole every scene she was in, without a doubt. I don’t know what it says about me that my favorite character in the series is an assassin, but I can’t help it: she’s fabulous and smart and lethal. Oh, yes, and this book also had a lot more strong, interesting female characters. I love this series for that.

Readin’ and Dreamin’

The seemless way that the technology of this book is woven into the story. Sometimes when I read something ‘steampunk’ I feel as though tech has been thrown into every nook and cranny to ‘give the feeling of’ but never really making the tech at home in the story… this, like “Pheonix Rising” delivers that world that makes steampunk ‘tech’ live and breathe instead of cluttering up the scene. What about our heroes? The push-n-pull of Books and Braun, their witty conversations, their developing interaction is wonderful! Just when you think you have everything figured out, there’s another little curve… another surprise. Be ready for the fun to keep coming along with the action!

My Ethereality


If you like high adventure with a mix of humor, romance, and a dash of social commentary, then this is indeed a book for you. If you’re not a fan of steampunk or don’t even know what that is I’d still give this world a shot. Fair warning, it can lead to addiction.



We see more of the Ministry 7 in action, we see Eliza’s housekeeper in action, we see Wellington kiss a girl (two, actually, and I’m not telling who they are!). There are airship battles, perilous chase scenes, life and death struggles — and there is RUGBY. So what more could you possible want out of a book?

-The Pew Reviews

The Janus Affair is a maddening delight that proves impossible to set aside, even when the plot twists knock the wind from you. Agents Books and Braun are even more addictive this time around as we delve into each of their secrets. The new mysteries that arise are as delicious as the ones we receive answers to. Once again, the authors have created an infuriating pleasure that makes me want to beg on hands and knees for the next book.

-Switzy Thoughts

The Janus Affair isn’t pretentious or overwrought. It seeks nothing but to entertain readers in the smartest and best way possible and to show the love that Ballantine and Morris have for steampunk, for larger-than-life adventurers and big stories. It’s engaging, it’s a page turner and above all, it’s a really fun story to get lost in for a while.

-Sticky Trigger Entertainment

If you’re a fan of good writing, you need to go ahead and pre-order The Janus Affair now. (Feel free to click the image on the carousel to the right.) If you’ve never read steampunk before, this would be a great introduction. If you’ve felt steampunk wasn’t for you, The Janus Affair will change your mind. If you’re tired of books that take themselves too seriously and forget to let the reader enjoy the story and characters, Ms. Ballantine and Mr. Morris had you in mind. I truly believe with The Janus Affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel, this series will become a fan favorite and readers will demand to find out what happens when next Eliza and Welly suit up for their next adventure.

View from Valhalla

Cracking prose, top notch dialogue and the stiff upper lip and all in it’s a title that really generated an adventure that Quartermaine himself would be envious of.

Falcata Times

Reviews for Phoenix Rising

…an example of steampunk fiction at its absolute finest. Full of fascinating gadgets, non-stop action, and two amazing heroes this book was impossible to put down. The more I read the more I fell in love with the characters and their little quirks that made them feel so real and relatable. Paired with a fantastic plot and witty dialogue I absolutely loved this novel.
Lovely Books

With Phoenix Rising, Phillipa Ballantine and Tee Morris have created a great addition to the growing steampunk genre and have given a new take on fighting crime. For me, the authors demonstrated a good grasp of the steampunk theme, although centering this story more around the characters rather than the setting meant that a true Victorian setting was not exactly represented. The focus on Eliza and Wellington allowed for funny and witty dialogue and action sequences, often leading to explosive conclusions. Lets see what the sequel has to offer.(9.1 out of 10)

Fantasy Book Review

I enjoy the reversal of the roles; with the female lead being the one most likely to get into (and out of) a brawl, and the male lead being quite bookish and I do enjoy how often he hands her tea….The novel wraps up in a way that could easily have been a stand alone, but it doesn’t knot up all the loose ends, so the sequel should play into this story line very well. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

A B Keuser


It’s one part Sherlock Holmes, one part James Bond, and one part The Odd Couple, wrapped in a steampunk bow with an X-Files trim.  It’s a little predictable overall, lending to it being a quick read, but there are a few noteworthy surprises here and there that give it that extra punch, and plenty of fun throughout.  It’s really difficult not to enjoy this book.  And best of all, it’s the first in a series, so there’s more where this came from!

There are still some outstanding mysteries particularly with regard to Books past, Dr Sounds activities in the Archives and Bruce Campbell role. These mysteries plus the chance to see how Eliza and Books are coping with each other now means I will be picking up the second book, The Janus Affair very soon! This was frantic fun in Victorian London which will leave a massive smile on your face. Recommended for fans of Meljean Brooks and Gail Carriger. 9 out of 10

Seriously? One of the most amazing steampunk books I’ve ever read. So funny, sharp and brilliant.
Nocturnal Book Reviews


This is steampunk done right, down to every last detail. Set in Victorian London, Phoenix Rising has all the requisite clockwork, brass, and steam contraptions. The integration of the steampunk elements into the world and the narrative is extremely well done.
Bad Ass Book Reviews


Phoenix Rising has nice mix of the best elements: a finely tuned use of steampunk and its gadgets, two vastly different but strangely compatible, rounded main characters, amusing banter, and a plethora of smart antagonists against which to pit their brains and Braun.
Ageless Pages Reviews

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys steampunk novels. It’s a worthy read for basic fantasy and mystery fans, too. The plot is interesting, but the fate of this novel was sealed by the excellent characters featured, possessing both depth and mystery, you will find yourself drawn to them very quickly. From the bulletproof corsets to the airships to the mechanized Combobula bar, you will not be disappointed in the gadgets. I felt this was almost a James Bond meets Sherlock Holmes combination. And for the record, my favorite item is the plures ornamentum. Curious what that is, are you? Well then, perhaps you should read the book.
Geeks of Doom
What can I say about Phoenix Rising… Could there be a more awesome and deliciously fun steampunk novel? I think not! The first book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series is full of mystery, diabolic secret societies, fantastic steampunk devices and enough Victorian mayhem to make the Brontë sisters blush. But let’s be practical for a moment. A book can have all the inner workings, but for me the characters are what seal the deal. The chemistry between Eliza D. Braun and Wellington Books is reminescent of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and it works from the start.

-Imagination Run Amok


High stakes action and intrigue, with two great characters from whom the chemistry is radiant. In parts, a light action romp, akin to a summer blockbuster; in other parts, however, this book is as serious as a heart-attack. Agents Books and Braun are worthy heirs of Jon Steed and Emma Peel, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, and Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham.

-Invest Comics

Using a beautifully detailed language, coupled with a Sherlock Holmes-like plot, Phoenix Rising proves to be an invigorating read about two mysterious characters you’ll come to know and love. If you’re a sucker for historical fiction and can’t say no to fabulously rendered technological advancements (think guns, contraptions and thing-a-ma-jigs), then you’ll be in good company with these two creations.

-Hollywood Soapbox


Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine have cowritten a story here that is unlike anything I’ve ever heard or read by either of them. It is seamless in a way that few cowritten stories I’ve ever read are able to achieve. The story simply flows and you’re never aware that two cooks have been playing in the sauce. Simply stated, Phoenix Rising really should be on your “must read” list. It is a bargain at the relatively inexpensive cover price and can also be purchased through your favorite ebook store. If you haven’t read this amazingly fun book yet, go get a copy. You’ll thank me for it, and Mr. Morris and Ms. Ballantine will have gained another fan.

-View from Valhalla

…the fantastic first book in a new steampunk series by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris…The scenes between Eliza and Books are full of lively conversation and a bit of tongue in cheek humor. They are not romantic but there is a hint of a mutual attraction which I hope Ms. Ballantine and Ms. Morris develop further in future books…I highly recommend it and can’t wait to read the next book in this intriguing series.

-Night Owl Reviews

Goggles and gears are not some decorative icing tossed on the top of some pulp fiction thriller. Instead, Morris and Ballantine have woven a complete tapestry where the technology is part of the world and history has adjusted ever so slightly to reflect this technologically advanced British Empire. Any doubt on the richness of the universe they have created can be dispelled by listening to any of the eight podcast short stories set in the MoPO universe.

-The Welsh Man Writes

In the very first chapter, we meet our pair of characters. Agent Books, being held hostage, and Agent Braun getting ready to save him. The scene is filled with action, suspense and most of all, humor. I found this book to be absolutely hilarious!

- Good Choice Reading

Braun and Books fill every page with exciting exploits and daring-dos. Particularly thrilling are the smallest of details that turn this book from a sophomoric effort into a smooth and absorbing read. For example, one of the secret societies in question employs the kitschy moniker “The House of Usher”. Tips of the hat to the Victorian foundations of the genre had me smirking my way through the 400-something page novel. With plenty of plot arcs left untapped, mysterious doors unopened, and a tantalizing room filled with the Ministry’s abandoned “cold cases”, I do not imagine that Braun and Books will sit on their laurels for long before beginning their next adventure. PHOENIX RISING is a delightful addition to any bookshelf and could entertain even the starchiest of matrons. Pour some tea, spike it with something explosive, and get to reading.

-Melanie Jacobs on Fresh Fiction

Rife with Steampunkian elements, PHOENIX RISING is an eminently satisfying adventure into the world of an alternate Victorian London, one ruled by the power of steam mixed well with arcane forces. I can’t remember having such a good time caught up in a story unless it was seeing Indiana Jones for the first time. Books and Braun will linger in the back of my mind until their next adventure (Cogs and Corsets) comes to my greedy hands.

Diana Trokdahl on Fresh Fiction


Rife with Steampunkian elements, PHOENIX RISING is an eminently satisfying adventure into the world of an alternate Victorian London, one ruled by the power of steam mixed well with arcane forces. I can’t remember having such a good time caught up in a story unless it was seeing Indiana Jones for the first time. Books and Braun will linger in the back of my mind until their next adventure (Cogs and Corsets) comes to my greedy hands.

Fresh Fiction

Phoenix Rising is full of action, delicious witty banter, and fascinating twists and turns. The characterization of Eliza and Wellington is deeply detailed and utterly entertaining…I recommend Phoenix Rising for a rush of steampunk fun that’s more on the action film side of things than the steamy romance side, though it’s undeniable there’s chemistry between Welly and Eliza at some points…

-Worthy Cogitations

PHOENIX RISING, whatever it’s genre designation, is a rather thrilling and labyrinth detective romp laced with humor, feminine moxie and mayhem. The prose is Dickens on steroids, yet it somehow grips the reader; the novel is long and dense, but skimming is virtually impossible. Every word builds character development or contributes to the intricate plot details. The language is creative and fun, a modern version of Modernism that has the reader believing in the existence of pre-microchip robotics and laser guns; the possibilities are endless. A dark and twisted roller-coaster of a read for those fond of elegant vernacular and bizarre weaponry.


Phoenix Rising is another marvelous addition to the steampunk genre. A modern version of Sherlock Holmes with the creepiness of Frankenstein. Whether you’re a steampunk fan or just love a good adventure mixed in with a little mystery, be sure to give this one a try!

-Romancing the Darkside

So very many fun scenes… the dialogue is snappy and really brings out the characters and their attitudes. Delightful… and delicious! Wellington Books, the agent that ‘lives’ in the archives reminded me of Detective Latimer Finch from USA Network’s Peacemakers. It was so much fun hearing his voice in my head as Books. It really gave the story an added layer for me. The setting is truly another character in this book. It lives and breathes right along with the ‘human’ characters and received just as much attention from the authors… you’ll be lost in this world and enjoy every minute of it. I’m happy to say that I highly recommend both this book but also both authors!

-My Ethereality


This is probably the most clearly drawn Steampunk world I have come across so far. The machines are described so well that they are quite believable. Some might find Eliza a bit of a stretch in believability for a woman of the time, but it is an alternate reality, and she is a Kiwi who learned to fight from the Maoris which makes her character quite plausible. The ending came to a satisfying conclusion with just enough left over to give you an idea of where the story might be going next. I’ll definitely be keeping up with this series.

Tahlia Newland

I love the fact that a good bit of the book takes place in the archives cataloging the cases. I love that Eliza is the physically dangerous partner, although Welly has secret strengths. I love the fact that the villains are villains without any shades of gray. As a matter of fact, I love this entire book.

-Elaine Reads Constantly

Phoenix Rising is many things, but first and foremost it’s a lot of fun. Eliza and Wellington play their parts wonderfully well as the sexy, deadly secret agent, alongside the stiff-necked Brit with a little more going on under his perturbed surface than first appears. The real strength of the duo is the deft banter that fills the pages as each tries to work out the other while holding their own cards close to their, in Eliza’s case ample, chests. Comparisons can be drawn between the Avengers, Castle, and Warehouse 13 for the partnership of brains and battle but Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine have worked hard to give their creations a life of their own with enough depth and charm to warrant the further titles that are planned in the series. Add to this a believable Victorian London setting (complete with the obligatory street-urchins of unquestionable loyalty and dubious hygiene), a fine selection of secondary characters, and enough action sequences to keep even Michael Bay happy, the result is an exciting, funny, and highly enjoyable novel that will last long in the memory. A romp with some pomp, we Brits love that.

-The True Brit Blog


Phoenix Rising is a sensational steampunk inaugural offering from the team of Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris about the dashing duo Agents Braun and Books. This book is fast paced, well written and extremely thought provoking while remaining a lot of fun. Agents Books and Braun are vivid characters that really come to life behind your eyes...Phoenix Rising has chemistry, clandestine British secret society’s, Victorian fashions and societal commentary beautifully combined with fantastical steam powered technology the likes of which never made it to light. This book will involve you and have you thinking about where things fit in with the actual histories of the Victorian era and eagerly anticipating the next volume – which I’m sure will be coming. There are many adventures still to be had by the intrepid investigators Books and Braun.

-Beauty and Lace


Who doesn’t love an adrenaline pumped, pistol twirling woman wearing a fur coat “flowing around her like a cape”. This is your first introduction to Eliza Braun, agent at the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Not only is she a crack shot and incredibly endowed with other talents, but she also likes to blow things up. The perfect woman…If you like secret agents, mystery, cleavage, explosions and perpetual action….you will love Phoenix Rising!

-Steampunk Canada


Take Warehouse 13, make it cool and intelligently written, add in some Sherlock Holmes-ish murders and set it during Victorian London and you would have something almost as good as this excellent steampunk novel…Ballantine and Morris create a world and a story that you can’t help but smile at while reading. This book is a diamond in super-affordable rough. Why isn’t there a major publisher pushing this series with hardbacks and advertising? It has mass appeal and would easily translate into film.I highly recommend this series (hopefully) to fans of steampunk and mysteries. You won’t regret reading it!


The dynamic between them reminds me strongly of the recent Sherlock Holmes movie. Watson and Holmes had the same bickering camaraderie between them that Eliza and Wellington do. The language is also another delight in the book. There are lots of slang words popping up here and there (especially from Eliza) like dollymop and Fabian. It added a nice flavor to the dialogue…All in all I thought this was a strong first book and that anyone who was a fan of the adventure in the Blades of the Rose series and the dynamic in Sherlock Holmes movie might want to check this series out. I’m very eager to see where this partnership takes Eliza and “Welly” in the future.

-Fiction Vixen

Readers new to the Steampunk genre can’t do better then starting out with this excellent romp through an alternate version of Victorian England. As if the main character names are not enough of a clue, this is simple good fun. The smooth pace, assorted subplots, evil villains and plot twists create a delightful, engaging read that draws readers in and doesn’t let go.

-Monsters and Critics

Phoenix Rising is the type of book I could happily spend an entire book review quoting from, it’s just full of punchy one liners and witty dialogue. If you really want to work out what the story is all about, just look at the cover, it really does manage to sum up the story nicely…Otherwise the story itself just flows from beginning to end as one constant page-turning read and he characters are great fun. The whole book is also a wonderful set up for an ongoing series, which promises to have several books that are all just as enjoyable. I can’t wait.

-Fang Books

Eventually, she finds a manner to amuse herself, by investigating old cases left to wither in the dark corners of the archives.  The reader suspects this is the set-up for their partnership, looking into cold cases, for future books to come, and this reader crosses her fingers that it indeed is true because I want to read much more about this daring duo…Phoenix Rising has all the steampunk gadgets and gears readers desire, along with a smart pair of protagonists that you will insist on reading about in the next book, and the next book, and….

-Bite Club

Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris fill the pages with explosions, witty banter, clever fashion, chase scenes, derring-do, and more explosions. The writing style intentionally evokes Victorian writing mannerisms and plays them for laughs. You’ll find plenty of steampunk gizmos, too, ranging from the handy (such as Braun’s armored corset and certain incendiary devices) to the just plain fun (Books’ “difference engine” is set up to have a function similar to that of an mp3 player)…The action/adventure atmosphere does return, however, and the ending promises more Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences cases to come. With the dry humor and crackling chemistry displayed in Phoenix Rising, I’m sure they’ll be fun.
Fantasy Literature


I think I can go on and on about this book.  It was so well written and so many different aspects that I enjoyed…The book starts right in with a bang with action and bullets flying every which direction as the main characters meet…the dialect and writing styles is a pleasure to read.  This is a book to sit down with and enjoy from all angles; world building, characters, case solving ~ all for the style, fun, and mystery of it.

-My World in Words and Pages

This is a fun, well paced book that does Steampunk right. I have read other titles from both of the authors and the combination of Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris is truly a recipe for greatness…This book combines aspects of the “The Odd Couple”, the first three Indiana Jones movies, any good detective novel and the TV show, Cold Case…People love Steampunk and I think in Ballantine and Morris we have authors that can carry the torch. If you haven’t purchased this book or downloaded it you are missing out. Buy it, open the cover and enjoy the hissing sound as you escape into a well developed, exciting romp thru an alternate reality. I think my goggles just fogged up.

-Geek Life

I enjoyed this book more than I think I can express in a single review. The moment I finished it I wanted the next one in the series. The steampunk world is incredible, all the way from awesome weaponry to colorful clothing. Eliza’s sassy attitude kept me upbeat throughout the entire book, even when I was scared for the characters’ lives. At one point I actually stopped reading and wondered, “How are the authors going to get them out of this?” I must also say, nothing pleases me quite as much as a bad-ass heroine. Furthermore, the hero is equally as bad-ass, but in his own, unique flavor. So, if you are a sci-fi/fantasy lover, or even if you’ve toyed with the idea of trying out the genre, I shall advise you on what I think you should do after you read this review: Drive to your local bookstore, and purchase Phoenix Rising. If you are looking for a quick-paced, passionate adventure with characters you’ll want to follow through many, many books, I am sure that Phoenix Rising is a superb choice. As I write this, I am still yearning for the next in the series.

-All About Romance

It is very hard to write about this story without giving spoilers, it has exploding books, bullet-proof corsets, airships, Babbage Machines, Evil Villans (Male and Female), Stalwart Heroes…. and more wonderful things than I can fit into one review.  There is a wonderful atmosphere here a good sense of place, and a real feel for English Victorian attitudes, especially towards women, and “others”.

-Mary Spila

If you love reading about librarians with a few aces up their sleeves, explosions and strong women, you won’t want to miss this amusing steampunk novel.

-A Reader of Fictions

Phoenix Rising is a well-written amazing adventure. The plot unfolds at just the right pace, leaving me at the edge of my seat throughout much of the tale. The story is smart and the characters witty…Ms. Ballantine and Mr. Morris have captured my imagination, heart and mind with their wickedly delightful tale. Phoenix Rising kicked off what I hope to be a long-lived series of adventures for Ms. Braun and Mr. Books.

-That’s What I’m Talking About

There is so much adventure, banter and espionage goodness in Phoenix Rising, that I cannot wait to read more. Eliza and Books have quickly become two of my favorite characters!

-Larisa’s Bookish Ways

What is the best part? It is very hard to say. Certainly, a major highlight — not to mention enduring delight — lies in the creation of our main protagonists, staid and sardonic archivist Wellington Books and feisty New Zealand renegade Eliza Braun. The two meet under trying circumstances (in Antarctica!) and strike sparks off each other immediately; “Welly” — as Eliza soon dubs her new acquaintance, much to his prissy distaste — is all logical problem-solving aristocratic Lord Peter Wimsey, whereas as she is all where-does-she-get-those-wonderful-toys Batman. Their chemistry? It positively leaps from the page; they are equal parts Mulder and Scully, Steed and Peel and Stargate SG-1’s Daniel and Sam, with more than a little Jane and Lisbon from The Mentalist thrown in….what Phoenix Rising does beautifully, uniquely and with tremendous skill is blend the at-times dour tone of its medium — think Charles Stross’s The Laundry — with a Regency-esque sensibility; if Jane Austen had written Fantasy (and been just a little less ladylike; the Victorians may be considered prudish by today’s morality, but they had nothing on the early nineteenth century), this could well be what she’d have produced: a book brimming with elegant prose, crackling dialogue, a disdainful, but honorable, hero and a singularly ass-kicking heroine to cheer for.

And the plot? Wow. Just, wow. Right from the very start it’s action packed—these two sure know how to get themselves caught up in trouble, and get themselves out of it (in fairly good shape anyway!). The storyline threaded through past and present, blending backstory and character history seamlessly into the action, while also raising enough questions to leave the reader itching for the next book in the series. There are bigger things afoot, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next. If you like a rollicking good time, then I encourage you to check this one out—you won’t be disappointed.
—Just One More Page

Oh, what fun! Steampunk, great characters, a rousing adventure! That’s this book in a nutshell.
—Murder By The Book’s Mystery Book Blog

What follows is a rollicking story full of carriage chases, shootouts, wondrous steam gadgetry, and intriguing mystery! I loved the interplay between Welly (Books) and Eliza, and Eliza will meet a female assassin that just may be her match! I also enjoyed how the authors balanced the action (and there was plenty) with the character development, which kept me turning the pages to see what romp Eliza and Welly would get drawn into next during their investigation. The mystery kept me guessing and the atmosphere created by the authors was just wonderful. It was certainly easy to imagine being in the streets of Victorian London, amidst amazing steam gadgets and fog shrouded mystery! I will be anxiously awaiting the next installment in this series!
My Bookish Ways

Things I loved: Eliza and Welly’s drunken night on the town followed by the frenetic following morning after they’d taken the hangover cure.  Eliza’s a bit of a firecracker as it is, making her lose her (admittedly already loose) inhibitions and go charging into battle without a care in the world was great.  Come to think of it, pretty much any time Welly and Eliza were going toe-to-toe was a hoot.  Those two are such polar opposites and yet they flourish when they’re together. I also thoroughly enjoyed the threads that were laid out for later books.  There were so many things that I want to know more about and I’m anxious to see where the overall arc is heading.

—Reading the Paranormal

This was a great start to a great series.  Steampunk-when written right-can be a grand adventure into the past that tells a whole new story of the ingenuity of the human mind.  The banter between Eliza and Wellington, or “Welly” as she calls him, had me chuckling in more than one spot.  The two are polar opposites, but somehow manage to work together without killing each other.  Eliza wears trousers and a steel corset, while Wellington abhors violence but can hold his own in a fight.  There’s more to Wellington than meets the eye.  I hope there’s a book 2 in this series on the horizon, because I’d love to read more about this unlikely duo. I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s read Gail Carriger, or has an interest in a good steampunk story.
RomFan Reviews

If James Bond wore a corset and drank Earl Grey it might be something like the adventures in Phoenix Rising….The book is heavy with its steampunk theme, but it’s also pretty light reading. The bodycount is ridiculously high and there are plenty of very cinematic passages that get the blood pumping. I don’t think I can describe it correctly as high octane (maybe high coal?), but there’s always a lot of action…The two agents make light-hearted banter whilst chasing down evil villains and mad scientists and getting in and out of scrapes in immaculate period style. It’s anachronistic and absurd, but Phoenix Rising has a sweet ending and getting to it is gleeful fun.
Warp Core Sci Fi


Eliza is a dashing heroine, reminiscent of the wonderful Emma Peel, from the 1960s TV show The Avengers. Both are intelligent, highly-skilled, and extremely well-dressed feminists who aren’t above exploiting their own sexual charms to attain the upper hand. While her relationship with Wellington replicates the same witty repartee and sense of sexual innuendo as that of Peel and Steed, Wellington is a far more bookish and charmingly awkward hero than John Steed ever was….Sophia del Morte is a femme-fatale of James Bond quality, while Doctor Devereux Havelock would be equally at home in any of the more far-fetched entries in that cinematic saga. The rivalry between Eliza and Sophia comprises the bulk of the novel‘s action, with gloriously choreographed fight scenes that see as many clothes shed as they do weapons introduced. Wellington and Havelock, on the other hand, are more intellectual adversaries, each with a deep and abiding respect for the other’s inventiveness and creativity. That’s not to say there’s anything lacking in their final confrontation, just that it’s all the more satisfying for the build-up.
Bibrary Bookslut

A one word review — wow. Another word — exquisite. I simply am thankful at this point that the wise people at HarperCollins have bought this as a series, because after one book all I can think of is “When is the next one coming out??!”…Steampunk is a fascinating genre, and Ballantine and Morris have captured it perfectly. I think this series could serve as a great introduction to the genre, in fact, since you really don’t have to have much of an understanding of steampunk to enjoy the book. There also seems to be an element or two of the pulp genre, though much of that is actually turned on it’s head.
-Pew Reviews


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