The Martian Ambassador is a Gas Lamp Fantasy—mashed up with Sci-Fi and just a teensy little bit of existential horror—that was published in 2011 by Alan K. Baker.
I say Gas Lamp Fantasy because while the story has Steampunk elements it doesn’t quite fit the brief in my opinion.
If I was to summarise this book in one sentence: Flawed, but fun.
Picture Victorian Era London with all of its aristocratic charms and pitfalls, now throw in the fact that Martians made contact some time ago and share War of the Worlds style technology with England. They even have an ambassador stationed within the city.
Now that you’re picturing that, imagine what would happen if the Martian Ambassador is brutally murdered, and a member of Her Majesty’s Clandestine Investigation Force must find the killer before an interplanetary war breaks out.
Thomas Blackwood leads the case in this murder mystery/political thriller/Fantasy adventure and is shortly joined by Sophia Carrington—a paranormal investigator herself. The duo follows their investigation which pulls them further into the surreal. They come face to face with folk tales, fae incursions, dangerous entities, alien war machines, and inter planetary manipulators.
It is an intriguing premise that isn’t afraid to keep on pushing the envelope in terms of fantastical elements.
There are criticisms out there about the writing quality, which honestly I wouldn’t rave about, and the plot points themselves did come across as simplistic at times. But I found that the writing suited the story fine and did not detract from the fun adventure that I was reading.
The sequel “The Feaster in the Stars” was actually one of my favourite books for a good while and had moments that really made my skin crawl with how visceral the villain and tone was.
So if you’re after a fun romp of a story with genre mashing, easy characters to root for, and don’t want to take things too seriously, I would recommend checking out The Martian Ambassador.
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