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David Barnett

David Barnett(1970- )
David was born in Wigan in 1970. He is an award-winning journalist and has worked in newspapers in the North of England since 1989 as a reporter, a specialist correspondent, a newseditor, a columnist and a features editor. He has reported from Bosnia and Kosovo; once made a pilgrimage to Jack Kerouac’s grave in Massachusetts; counts taking part in the “running of the bulls” at Pamplona’s St Fermin fiesta as his most frightening experience ever; and spent most of the Nineties lying in a field at the Glastonbury Festival wondering if it was time to go home yet. He is the lead singer with charismatic pop combo Chopper squad, who remain available for all festivals and functions. David lives in West Yorkshire with his wife Claire, their young Charlie and Alice, and two cats, Kali and Shiva.

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Gideon Smith

Gideon Smith — (2013-2014) Publisher: Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire. Airships ply the skies and Queen Victoria presides over three-quarters of the known world—including the East Coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775. London might as well be a world away from Sandsend, a tiny village on the Yorkshire coast. Gideon Smith dreams of the adventure promised him by the lurid tales of Captain Lucian Trigger, the Hero of the Empire, told in Gideon’s favorite “penny dreadful.” When Gideon’s father is lost at sea in highly mysterious circumstances Gideon is convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Deciding only Captain Lucian Trigger himself can aid him, Gideon sets off for London. On the way he rescues the mysterious mechanical girl Maria from a tumbledown house of shadows and iniquities. Together they make for London, where Gideon finally meets Captain Trigger. But Trigger is little more than an aging fraud, providing cover for the covert activities of his lover, Dr. John Reed, a privateer and sometime agent of the British Crown. Looking for heroes but finding only frauds and crooks, it falls to Gideon to step up to the plate and attempt to save the day…but can a humble fisherman really become the true Hero of the Empire?

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Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl: A paean to the pulp adventure novels of yore

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Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl by David Barnett

As one might perhaps be able to tell from the title, Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, by David Barnett, is a paean to the pulp adventure novels of yore a la Frank Reade and His New Steam Man. This sort of thing can be a bit tricky to pull off, as it is a fine line between keeping the spirit of the source material in terms of characters, dialogue, and plotting and crossing over that line into the trite and silly. For the most part, Barnett pulls it off. Enough so that I’d be interested in picking up the clearly planned sequel.

Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl opens with a wonderfully chilling scene, as poor Annie... Read More

Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon: Still solidly entertaining

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Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David Barnett

Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon is David Barnett’s steampunk follow-up to Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl, and continues that first book’s solidly entertaining plot, even as it shares a few of the same missteps. As this is a direct sequel, there will be spoilers for the first book, so readers beware.

In book one, Gideon is proclaimed the Hero of the Empire for his part in saving London and Queen Victoria from an attack using a magical/technological marvel shaped like a dragon (it also flies and belches fire). His companions included:

Maria, a mechanical girl with a human brain
Bent, a cynical journalist with a love for alcohol and spiced sausage
Rowena Fanshawe, the “Belle of ... Read More