Col has been trained to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Sir Mormus Porpentine, and become Supreme Commander in his turn. He lives on the Upper Decks of the juggernaut Worldshaker, and he’s always accepted the way his family thinks – which is the same as the whole society around him
Then Riff escapes from ‘Below’ and tries to hide in Col’s cabin. ‘Don’t let ’em take me!’ she pleads – and just for once, he doesn’t do what he’s always been taught to do.
Riff belongs to the so-called ‘Filthies’, the workers who live in the engine room below decks in unbelievable heat and steam and perpetual danger. It’s so dangerous that few Filthies live into their twenties – the machinery catches and crushes them as their reactions slow down with age.
So begins a journey of discovery for Col, as he gradually learns the incredible cruelty of the supposedly proper, moral, and respectable Upper Decks people. Can Riff persuade him to side with the revolutionaries against oppression? Can he break all the rules and decide his own future?
This is steampunk fantasy and it’s also alternative history, where events took a different route to our own real history. The turning point here came in the Napoleonic wars: in real history, a French engineer approached Napoleon with a carefully worked out plan for digging a tunnel under the English Channel to invade England, but Napoleon eventually decided against the idea. But in Worldshaker history, he did dig the tunnel and invade, which led to many decades of war, mechanized warfare and hyper-industrialisation. Then came the building of the great juggernauts …
“A page-turning, pulse-pounding read” – Kirkus Reviews
“Intriguing world building, strong characters, and an exciting plot that will leave teens thinking about perceptions and prejudices and the weight of leadership” – Booklist
“The writing is sharp and the story fast-paced” – Publishers Weekly
Liberator picks up the story three months after the revolution. The Filthies have given their juggernaut the new name of ‘Liberator’. But now the revolution is moving into a new phase, more violent and extreme. Col and other Upper Decks people who have stayed to help on the juggernaut are viewed with suspicion and hostility, partly because of the mysterious acts of sabotage that keep happening. It’s also because the Imperialists are massing against them, determined to crush this upstart free society.
When Liberator calls in at the coaling station of Botany Bay, events move towards a great confrontation which eventually involves the Russian, Austrian, French and Turkish juggernauts. In the Revolutionary Council, moderate voices are drowned out and extremists take over. War is approaching!
Col and Riff could work against these threats if they could work together at all. But Col is persecuted by Riff’s friends and fellow Council members, until she’s half-embarrassed to be seen talking to him. Yet still she can’t deny her feelings …
A reign of terror, an ultimate battle — and the story of the juggernaut LIBERATOR drives on to its shattering conclusion.
Most of the characters from Worldshaker reappear in Liberator: not only Col and Riff, of course, but Gillabeth, baby Antrobus, Quinnea, Orris, Septimus, Professor Twillip, Mr Gibber … they’re all back, as weird and wonderful as ever. (I’ve really enjoyed watching them all grow and develop more sides to their personalities.)
Worldshaker and Liberator have been published in the US, the UK, France, Germany and Brazil, as well as Australia. And every time a new cover! Check out all the covers – all unbelievably different – along with some videos and audio recordings of the author reading sample chapters.