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Hephaesium 235 by Greg X. Graves


Flora and her new husband set sail for Britain after their wedding.

In six months she has gone from a furnished room to a mansion down the street from Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer. As the wife of Benedict Flock, heir to the Flock Aniline & Dye Company, she plans to enjoy a long honeymoon in Europe – and would have, if they had not arrived on the eve of war.

Meanwhile, as the European powers ruin a romantic trip to France, Detective Berach Kelly tracks down a serial poisoner on the streets of Chicago. Soon, the trail and his suspect both grow cold. But he isn’t the kind of detective to let a minor problem like that stop him.

A novel, no longer online

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Listed: Mar 3, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

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Editor’s First Impression

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

Mar 24, 2013: In reading the first ten chapters that have been published so far for Hephaesium 235, I found that I liked the main character, Flora, and was definitely interested in the world she lives in. She is a young woman who appears to have lived part of her life in wealth and part in lesser circumstances, yet doesn’t appear to have been changed for the worse because of either. We meet her shortly after she’s married Benedict Flock, the wealthy heir of a business, and the two are in Europe for their honeymoon. I feel like we’ve gotten a good sense of her basic character at this point, but I look forward to more information about her background as the story goes forward.

I was also interested by the premise of the story – an alternate universe historical fiction set around the beginning of WWI – and I’m curious to see how the author carries that forward as the story unwinds. One thing I’d like the author to include more of, however, is information setting the scene. I like reading works set in the past because I’m fascinated by the idea of being able to (at least mentally) visit those places I’ll never be able to in real life, so I’d like more detail about what London was like then, including where Flora and her husband are staying, and the city streets. The author seems to be good at giving a sense of this in Chicago, where a parallel story is being followed, so I’d like to see more of that on the other side of the Atlantic, as well.

I did end up having a bone to pick in that one of the plot twists that occurs seemed impossible to have happened, given what I know of the time period. It involved Flora’s discovery of something her new husband had done in the past, and I found it hard to swallow that she wouldn’t have found the information out previously, given that the doings of the wealthy were the subject of the society pages in that day and age, and due to the fact that Flora seems to know so much about the wealthy people of Chicago already. At the very least, it would have been something her father would have found out as he was investigating her fiancé’s background, which was something that any family of that time would do if someone wanted to marry their daughter.

At any rate, this story seems to have a fairly solid start, and I’m interested to see where it goes from here. I’d recommend this story to anyone who’s interested in historical fiction, especially from around the WWI era.

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