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The only thing that noticed their absence was the morning paper a couple of days later. A small square on the bottom of page 17 simply announced, “Missing: Dangerous Fugitives.”
A steampunk romance-adventure novel by E.A. Hedgecock.
The story begins with the revelation that in this world, and the country of Erivale, creativity in all its forms has been banished (following the Joyce riots of 1943, 1946, and 1951). A group of six artists have been living under the radar for years, posing as ordinary people until one of them, Thomas the Painter, has his shopping list intercepted by the police and is arrested and framed for the murder of a soldier's wife. Two are arrested then, one is killed, and the remaining three vanish without a trace.
At least, until a couple of years pass and they're picked up, one of them near-death, by the pirate airship the HMAS Verne.
A rollicking good adventure story with tearjerking romances, a monarchy with secrets of their own, and one of the darkest and most detestable villains in literature today.
Can be purchased here.
- Aborted Declaration of Love: When Bernard kisses Victoria's hand before getting arrested.
- After-Action Patchup: Of the rare non-romantic variety, between Victoria and Bast.
- And the Adventure Continues...
- Anger Born of Worry:
Nicola: (while punching Alexander) "Never! Ever! Do! That! Again!"
Bernard: Why wouldn’t you marry someone who loves you?
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: When Alexander dives off the side of the ship to save Nicola.
- Badass Family: The Friersons.
- Badass Gay: Felix
- Bandaged Face: Princeton, most of the time.
- Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Bernard, Princeton, and Alexander
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Alexander and Nicola
- Best Woman: Implied that Nicola will be this for Felix.
- The Bet
Felix: I’ll bet you five vales that they tell each other the truth by Christmas.
Princeton: People seem to forget how fiercely protective Bernard can be, because he’s so nice.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Bernard, Alexander, Princeton
- Blue Eyes: Standard on the Frierson children.
- Bonding Over Missing Parents: Artie and Bast are the ones who comfort Alexander when he talks about his parents.
- Bookworm: Bernard.
Bernard: While Dad taught you medicine, Mom gave me books. Dante, Twain, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, I read ‘em all.
- Break the Cutie: Alexander, surprisingly. Born the unwanted son of the king to a mother who went progressively crazy and eventually died, with a dead wife who was killed by the government (and he can't prove it).
- Annie, too. She's impregnated by an abusive man who only made her fall in love with him to get nearer to her brothers, and then he abuses her, goes nuts, and eventually dies.
- Character Alignment: Lewis is lawful evil. He slips to chaotic evil by the climax.
- Chekhov's Gun: Felix's pocket watch.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Wilson. Full tilt.
- The Chessmaster: Lewis
- Children Are Innocent: Artie and Bast
- Cool Uncle: Artie and Bast have three!
- Crush Blush: Victoria and Princeton for their respective crushes (somewhat justified because they're redheads).
- Cry Into Chest: Non-romantic, between Felix and Victoria.
- The Cynic: Alexander
- Dance of Romance: Lampshaded by Felix.
Felix: Victoria’s teaching Bernard how to dance. It’s a classic way of getting someone to fall in love with you. I’ve used it myself before.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Alexander
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Bernard lampshades this at one point.
Bernard: What happened to her parents? Are Princeton and I the only people on this ship with living parents?
- Disappeared Dad: Felix has one.
- Disposable Fiance
- Dogged Nice Guy: Poor Bernard.
- Don't Look At Me: Princeton, most of the time.
- Drowning My Sorrows
Felix: What 'cha drinking?
Bernard: My feelings.
- Dying Declaration of Love: For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Considering by the end Felix has nearly died twice, Alexander has lost a leg, and Princeton is missing an eye, this troper would say they earned it.
- Everyone Can See It: Bernard and Victoria.
- Establishing Character Moment: The first time you meet the Frierson brothers, Bernard is insisting they help the stragglers, Alexander is insisting they don't jeopardize their own safety, and Princeton is off to the side, being quiet.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Lewis has a cultured, deep voice.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress: Victoria desperately wants one of these.
- False Start: During the waltz.
- Faux Affably Evil: Lewis
- Fiery Redhead: Averted hard with Princeton
- Fragile Speedster: Nicola
- Freudian Excuse: Lewis seems to think he has one.
- Genius Book Club: Felix
- Genius Bruiser: You don't hurt Felix's friends.
- Goal in Life: The HMAS Verne's crew has the goal to defeat the government and bring back the arts.
- Good Is Not Soft: Bernard and Alexander are prime examples.
- Good Parents: Dr. and Mrs. Frierson.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted, hard. Half of Princeton's face is disfigured, while Lewis only has a small nick above his lip.
- Grudging Thank You: Nicola to Alexander.
Nicola: I never got to say thank you.
Alexander: For what?
Nicola: You know for what.
- Happily Adopted: Alexander
- Happily Married: Dr. and Mrs. Frierson.
- Hates Being Touched: Under duress, Alexander and Nicola.
- Headbutt of Love: Felix to Princeton
- Head Desk: Bernard pulls one when Annie reveals her pregnancy.
- Held Gaze: Alexander to Nicola
- Heroes Want Redheads: Or so Bernard and Felix would argue.
- Heroic Bastard: Alexander
- Hold Me
Victoria: Well, I don’t particularly want to punch you. I…would like to be held. That would make me feel better. Being held by someone I care about.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Alexander (a former soldier) and Nicola (a ballerina).
- Humongous Mecha: The government has a penchant for basing all of the designs for the Monsters on animals (just bigger).
- I Am What I Am: Princeton, eventually.
- I Can Still Fight: Alexander insists on going to inform the king that the battle is won, even though he's been shot through the ankle.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Artie and Bast's mirrored eye colors.
- I Uh You Too
Alexander: I, um, I care deeply about you.
Artie: What happens when we don’t remember Mama anymore?
Bast: I dunno. Does she go away?
- Important Haircut: Victoria has long hair in the prologue, but very short for the rest of the novel. She finally explains to Bernard that she was attacked during her first year on the run and she cut it off to avoid it being used against her.
- In Vino Veritas
- Just Friends: Bernard and Victoria. For a while, anyways.
- Kick the Dog: The first time Lewis strikes Annie.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Lewis, while kidnapping the twins.
- Kids Are Cruel: Lewis, as a child.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Bernard and his cat, Bennett.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Alexander
- Lack of Empathy: Lewis
- La Résistance
- Love Epiphany: Alexander gets one during the 'I Hate You' speech.
- Love Triangle: Between Bernard, Victoria, and Thomas.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: There are five Frierson children.
- Megane: Felix
- Memento MacGuffin: Felix's pocket watch
- The Missus and the Ex: She's not a missus, but I believe Victoria and Lenora qualify.
- Mysterious Parent: Alexander's father.
- Non-Idle Rich: The Friersons
- No Sense of Personal Space: the twins
- Not Bad
Lewis: Wilson. Good shot.
- Not Quite Dead
- Papa Wolf: Bernard
- Pet the Dog: Alexander to his nephews the first time he talks about his father.
- Prank Date: As part of Princeton's backstory.
- Precision F-Strike: Hearing mild-mannered Princeton call a man a prick is jarring, to say the least.
- Promotion to Parent: Bernard for the twins.
- Put on a Bus: Thomas
- Queer Romance
- Race For Your Love
- Romantic False Lead: Thomas
- Rotating Protagonist
- Runaway Bride
- Sadistic Choice
Lewis: Make your choice, Bernard Frierson! Your brothers or your sister!
Alexander: Me and Nicola? Are you crazy? Me and Nicola.
- Shipper on Deck: Pretty much everyone for Victoria and Bernard.
- Single-Minded Twins: Artie and Bast, though they don't quite see it that way.
Artie: Remember? I’m smart and you’re dumb and I’m weak and you’re strong.
- Sir Swearsalot: Alexander should be this as a former soldier and Anti-Hero, but he has never cursed in his life.
- Sleep Cute: Bernard and Victoria sleeping on the couch.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: Felix
- Snow Means Love
- Straight Gay: Both Felix and Princeton.
- The Stoic: Alexander, very much. Nicola, to a lesser extent.
- The Tell: Princeton kneads his hand when he's nervous and Alexander tugs at his hat when he's uncomfortable.
- Three Amigos: Victoria, Nicola, and Felix
- Took a Level In Badass: Bernard when Lewis kidnaps the twins.
- The Un-Hug: When Nicola attempts to console Bernard.
Bernard: You’re not used to this, are you?
Nicola: No. Felix is the one who comforts us, normally. I’ll have him give you a hug later. He’s a great hugger.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Bernard and Victoria. So much.
- Villainous Breakdown
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Felix proposes to Princeton while half-drunk at 2 AM.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Lewis
- Why Waste a Wedding?
- Will They or Won't They?: Between Bernard and Victoria. They Do.
- Youngest Child Wins: Averted with Annie
- Your Cheating Heart: Victoria valiantly fights against this. Turns out Thomas cheated on her, too.