London, the nineteenth century. Victoria sits on the throne of an Empire powered by caloric fluid – heat, in pure liquid form.
Caloric steam engines power ships, aeroplanes, cars and trains. The world runs on caloric – and Lord Grimsdale controls the caloric.
In a little music hall in East London, Australian singer Gladys Dunchurch finds herself working for a second-rate stage magician who has one first-rate trick: a mysterious wand that allows the user to teleport someone over a short distance. When the magician disappears (and not in a good way) it is up to Gladys to find him.
Perhaps fortunately, Gladys runs into the Hon. Edward "Charlie" Decharles. Charlie woke up hungover in the back of a cab, only to discover that the driver had been murdered. Feeling responsible, he set out to investigate, only to learn that he possesses no detective skills at all.
The unlikely pair form an alliance – Charlie will help Gladys with his considerable resources and Gladys will help Charlie with her even more considerable brains. Their investigations only leads to more questions.
Why is the caloric baron Lord Grimsdale paying pirates to build a submarine? Who is behind the mysterious cult that controls the village of Hamford? Who murdered the Astronomer Royal?
Why did giant Bats attack a patent medicine factory? What monsters lurk in the London sewers? Why does the vicar of St Edwins fear the moon? And above all, what is the sinister secret behind caloric power?
Charlie and Gladys find themselves pitted against dead-eyed assassins, murderous pirates, wingless flying machines, and perhaps even creatures from beyond this Earth. And lurking behind it all lies a sinister cabal that knows the secret origin of the steam-powered society.
Can our heroes save the day, or will the fallout from that secret destroy two worlds?
About The Author
BG Hilton was born in Melbourne, but lived in Sydney for most of his life.
He had a series of extremely dull jobs – in IT, hospitality, finance and advertising, whatever the sector someone wanted to give him a job that was extremely uninteresting. He dealt with this by coming up with fantastic stories, and now he writes them down in the hope of entertaining others.
An early fan of Steampunk, he grew up on Dr Who, 1960s retro-future movies, and the triumvirate of Wells, Verne and Doyle. In the 90s, he was thrilled to discover that others shared his weird obsession. Now he owns a top hat. Sometimes he even wears it in public.
His short fiction can be found in Andromeda Spaceways, Antipodean SF, Pseudopod and elsewhere. He also serialises a sprawling, caffeine-fuelled Fantasy series set in a fictional Sydney suburb, which he publishes on his website, bghilton.com.
Champagne Charlie and the Amazing Gladys is his first published novel. He studied English and History at the University of Newcastle and the University of Technology, Sydney and Teaching at the University of Sydney. He now works in education, which is a sight more interesting than his previous careers. He lives in Sydney with his wife and daughter.