Geist by Philippa Ballantine
Sometimes you read a book and enjoy it while reading, only to find it falls apart when you think about it later. The inverse happened to me with Philippa Ballantine’s Geist. I enjoyed it, and then the more I thought about it, the more I found to appreciate.
Geist is a secondary-world fantasy, set on the continent of Arkaym. The residents of Arkaym fear the geists, powerful otherworldly spirits that can enter the physical realm and possess people. Standing between the populace and the geists is the Order, which can best be described as a (mixed-gender, non-celibate) organization of warrior monks. The members of the Order are classified by their skill set: Actives have the power to blast geists with offensive magic, but are dependent upon Sensitives to discern the spirit’s presence and strength. Actives and Sensitives work together ... Read More
Philippa (Pip) Ballantine(1971- )
Philippa (“Pip”) Ballantine was born in Wellington, New Zealand, studied English Literature and Politics at Victoria University, and found herself working in the magical world of libraries. She still lives in Wellington, and is kept company by two Siberian cats, Sebastian and Viola. Here’s Philippa Ballantine’s website.
Books of the Order — (2010-2013) Publisher: Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists… Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse. But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows. And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to?
Geist by Philippa Ballantine
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences — (2011-2012) Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Publisher: These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences — the Crown’s top-secret organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling — will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza 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!
Tales from the Archives — Tales from the Archives are short stories set in the world of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. They explore events mentioned in the novels, characters seen and unseen and may include novel teasers of things to come. Some of the stories in these collections can also be purchased individually.
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee MorrisWellington Books and Eliza Braun are agents in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, taking on the uncanny in the name of Queen and country. Agent Books is a straitlaced archivist — don’t call him a librarian — who enjoys mechanical tinkering and his peaceful job among the Ministry’s old files. Agent Braun is an outspoken New Zealand transplant who loves to blow things up. At the beginning of Phoenix Rising, the two agents land themselves in the doghouse with the Ministry and are assigned to work together. The unlikely partners then discover a new lead in a cold case that left Braun’s former partner institutionalized in Bedlam. An evil secret society is on the rise, and only Books and Braun can thwart their dastardly plans.
Phoenix Rising is one of those steampunk novels that’s not too serious. Pip Ballantine... Read More
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
“The name is Braun. Eliza Braun.” She’s one-half of the “Books and Braun” team who use books and brawn to protect the British Empire and good Queen Victoria from evildoers, in Phoenix Rising, the first book of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written by Pip (Philippa) Ballantine and Tee Morris.
Phoenix Rising takes advantage of every possible steampunk trope and a kitchen-sink-ful of other influences as well. You’ll recognize The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (the movie, not the comic book,) Warehouse 13, Dark Shadows, Doctor Who, the 1960s British TV show The Avengers, Ian Fleming, Kage Baker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe and e... Read More
The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
The Janus Affair, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, is the second in these writers’ steampunk adventure series. Wellington Books, Chief Archivist, and Eliza Braun, former field agent turned junior archivist, work for Queen Victoria’s Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Books is an aristocrat, a son of England, while Braun is a “colonial pepperpot” from New Zealand. Something happened in New Zealand that makes it impossible for Braun to return home. In The Janus Affair, we meet two people from Braun’s past that shed some light on those events.
After a woman disappears on a train, right before the eyes of Eliza and Wellington, Eliza is approached by New Zealand suffragist Kate Sheppard, who had come to England to pursue the vote for women (in New Zealand they already have it). Kate has a clo... Read More
Shifted World — (2012- ) Publisher: In a world that is in constant shifting, where mountains can change to plainsand then to lakes, Talyn is the Hunter for the Caisah, and a wreck of a once-proud person. She has lost her people, the Vaerli, and her soul working for the man who destroyed her people. All unknowing, she carries within her a Kindred, a chaos creature from the center of the earth that wants to help bring the Vaerli back to power. However, she has lost the ability to communicate with it. She must also deal with the machinations of Kelanim, the mistress of Caisah, who out of fear will do anything to bring Talyn down. Little does the Hunter know that salvation is looking for her, and it wears the face of gentleness and strength. Finn is a teller of tales who carries his own dreadful secret. He sets out to find answers to his path but ends up in the city of Perilous and Fair where he meets Talyn. He knows the danger and yet is drawn to her. Their fates are bound together. Meanwhile, the Hunter’s lost brother Byre is searching for his own solution to the terrible curse placed on the Vaerli. He sets forth on a treacherous journey of his own, which will intersect in the most unlikely place with that of Talyn and Finn. The ramifications of this encounter will be felt by all the people in Conhaero, from the lost Vaerli to the Caisah on his throne.
Chasing the Bard — (2005) Publisher: Born into the human world with a gift; a gift that brings him to the attention of powers both dark and light from the World of the Fey, it is his burden to defend all the world. Sive, the goddess of battle, hopes that he may be able to change the fate of her people. The Fey are dying, killed by something beyond the boundaries of worlds, and Sive will do anything to save them. So she enlists the help of her trickster cousin Puck to guard the child, and watch him grow into his gift. But a dark power imprisoned by human and Fey, plots to destroy both worlds, and unmake all that they have created. Can one boy stop the destruction, even if he is William Shakespeare?
Digital Magic — (2008) Publisher: The Fey are gone… and with them, magic. At least, that is how things seem at the conclusion of the award-nominated novel Chasing the Bard. — Lord what fools these mortals be. — Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change — from the local librarian to the lady of the manor — revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone.
The Thorns of Life — (2012) Publisher: A short story of clones, rebellion and poets. A company decides to clone the first famous figures from the past, and they settle on the trio of Romantic Poets, Shelley, Byron and Keats. After all, how much trouble can a few poets cause? But the insipid Victorian view of the men has led the corporation astray, and they may live to regret their choice.
Magic by Gaslight — (2012) Publisher: A novella of steampunk and magic, from one of the minds behind the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. Lucinda is a witch in a alternative Victorian London, where being a witch is a death sentence. Her coven harness sensuality and passion to make magic, and that is a crime according to the Association of Magicians. Women with control of sex and magic are too dangerous to tolerate. So Lucinda and her coven live in secret. That is until she meets a young American magician, and their attraction cannot be denied, but they have always been taught such a thing can never be. Rules however do not apply to the young and powerful. Lucinda and Theo find out just how far they are prepared to go.
Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
What are you working on these days?
Morgan Keyes (Mindy Klasky): I just finished the sequel to Darkbeast, which is tentatively called Darkbeast Rebellion. (It should be in stores about a year from now.) Next up, I'm working on a totally new fantasy series, about a boy born without magic in a society where everyone else has special powers.
Stephen Deas: Edits to my next dragon book and the first draft of the one after. Other things I can't talk about just yet, but I can say that I'm putting ideas together for a collaborative Space Opera series.
Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:
Got any personal news you'd like to share?
L.E. Modesitt Jr.: I've just turned in the last novel about Quaeryt (Rex Regis) in that subseries of THE IMAGER PORTFOLIO, which will make five books about him -- Scholar, Princeps, Imager's Battalion (release date of January 22nd), Antiagon Fire (release scheduled for July 2013), and, of course, Rex Regis (not yet scheduled). Also, I've got a stand-alone SF novel -- The One-Eyed Man -- coming out a year from now.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail: For the... Read More