Welcome to the new Mary Celeste Press website
KAREN BAYLY‘s new fantasy / steampunk novel FORTITUDE is out now in print & ebook through MCP. Look for the new cover, design and digest book size.
- NEW ! — BUY the PRINTED BOOK NOW at LULU !
- BUY the EBOOK at Smashwords !
- Go To KAREN BAYLY‘s WEBSITE
“The world building is delicious. In the best steampunk tradition, the machines leap from the page, massive and shiny.”
— Pene Henson, Author, Into The Blue, Storm Season
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID (warning, some spoilers ahead…)
RECENT! – I really enjoyed this novel.
The world-building is excellent, with a steampunk-adjacent technology and a couple of intriguing societies. The pacing is well-done, with plenty of description woven through the action and not slowing things down. I also liked the author’s take on a couple of mythological elements – it fit with with what I know of the lore and within the world the author established.
For me, the real strength in this novel was the character development. I loved the female characters. They are all well-fleshed out, with obvious strengths and weaknesses. I loved the ways that they navigated their world. The budding romance was sweet (but not cloying), and, I found, utterly charming and believable. The male characters were also well-fleshed out, although they are not as prominent in the storyline.
If there was one element that I would have appreciated more from, it was in the villains’ stories. I would have liked to have known more about them – individual motivations as well as their collective history. But, the author has laid groundwork for this to be revealed in a sequel, which I hope will come to pass.
This was a lovely read, and I’m excited to read more from this author.
I received a copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only.
—Buttercupp77 (at Goodreads.com)
RECENT! – Fortitude can be described as a steampunk/science fiction/horror mix with a little bit of romance thrown in. Sounds like a lot to throw in one book, but I think it worked. Being a scientist myself, I could tell that the author who wrote this had experience in that field and definitely put some thought into those aspects of the book. New Londinium is an innovative and imaginative steampunk world where dirigibles fly, residents travel via steam powered modes of transportation, and cutting edge scientific discoveries are being made. A scientific decision making body ensures that there is some control over these discoveries and that they don’t run out of control. Unfortunately, they don’t have their eyes on everything. An immortalist cult gets their hands on the latest and greatest invention and uses it for nefarious means. Before the residents on New Londinium know it, the dead starts showing back up in a reanimated state…
I received a copy of this book through Voracious Readers Only.
—Marissa (at Goodreads.com)
A captivating combination of adventure, heart, and hijinks! As with all my favorite books, I didn’t want Fortitude to end.
—Angela Dorsey, Novelist
Fortitude is an atmospheric tale that pulls you in and takes you on a thrilling adventure. Exploring issues of ethics, science, loyalty and love, this genre-bending novel both entertains and asks the reader to rethink old assumptions. You can’t help but fall in love with the characters as they wind their way through this fascinating world on dirigibles and hovercars.
—Cynthia Morris, Author, Chasing Sylvia Beach
This storyline ticked along at a terrific pace with a tight plot, strong characters, female heroes who certainly pass the Bechdel test, and a surprising end. Without giving away critical plot lines, this multi-threaded story was effectively unified in the overarching theme of science and its ethics.
—James Balian, Writer/Producer/Director, Collaborations Theatre Group
You might not expect a recipe of fantasy, sci-fi, romance, steampunk and horror to come out all that good, but Bayly has proved herself an expert literary chef with Fortitude. The genres blend together easily and the pages turn quickly.
—Pete Malicki, Author and Playwright
A steampunk adventure full of daring heroes, this novel is made even stronger by the fact that most of the heroes are women.
The world building is delicious. In the best steampunk tradition, the machines leap from the page, massive and shiny. I loved the individuality of the different machines, how they were rich and well-developed, silver and gold. The world around those machines is fascinating. The characters live in the world, they experience it as though it has always existed for them, so as a reader I lived in the world too.
Better even than the worldbuilding are the vivid characters. The brilliant sisters, Artemis and Parthena, are very different women but equally bold and delightful. I particularly loved Parthena who is fearless and brilliant, awkward and delicate at once. But then I loved Artemis’ pragmatism and ferocity and her huge heart. The characters around them are distinctive and intriguing. Each of them has strengths and weaknesses. Despite the characters and situations being fantastic, they all feel human.
I loved the omniscient storytelling, and felt I was part of every character’s thinking which brought me close to each of them.
The romantic storylines are charming. I particularly loved that there is a very sweet queer romance between two amazing women.
I rollicked along with this book, I cared about the characters, I enjoyed the adventure. I loved that the world itself throws up moral questions for the characters. And I loved how the characters dealt with those questions and with their own fears and hopes while they were saving the world. Highly recommended, the book is full of shiny machines, daring women and exhilarating adventure.
—Pene Henson, Author, Into The Blue, Storm Season
This inventive tale, an eclectic blend of science fiction, fantasy and steampunk,takes place in 1901, in the city of New Londinium. Dirigibles float through the air, and citizens travel through the streets of the city by hover machine, steam carriage or steam cab. The Council of Danaeus, a collective of highly-regarded scientists, seek to improve society through their inventions, especially those which make use of renewable and clean power. One of their most lauded designs is the Ripley Perpetual Steam Engine, invented by Doctor Parthena Ripley.
The redoubtable Parthena and her younger sister Artemis charmed me from the start of the tale: both are strong independent women who remain loyal to each other, without a whiff of sibling rivalry. When Parthena, who captivates everyone she meets, dallies with the heart of young Viola, Artemis is there with sage advice and fond concern. Parthena lends support to her sister in equal measure.
When Viola discovers that her brother has been the subject of an inhumane experiment, the novel moves into darker territory. Greed threatens to triumph over good and the tension ramps up, especially in the second half of the story. While the story mostly plays out within the realm of science fantasy, the novel is infused with the aesthetics of steampunk, aided by Karen Bayly’s precise turns of phrase, attention to detail, and aptitude for droll witticisms. An admirable debut.
—Elizabeth Foster, Author
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