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Tales of the Inventor’s War by Thomas Austin


A techno-fantasy following the lives and adventures of individuals caught up in the events of a world changing war. A hundred years ago, a similar war, one that introduced new technologies and sciences, nearly tore the world apart. Now, secrets and superstitions threaten to start the war all over again. The story is currently focusing on one engineer’s apprentice, a young man named Samo, as he tries to solve his master’s murder and keep from losing his mind.

Note: Tales of the Inventor’s War is unfinished, and will likely remain so.  It contains some graphic violence.

An abandoned novel

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Listed: Jan 24, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

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Slow building steampunk

By Linda Schoales, editor

Feb 23, 2009: “Tales of the Inventor’s War” is a steampunk novel set in a world that is re-discovering the technology lost after an old war. They have steam power but engineers and builders are watched by the superstitious for any sign of sorcery. Alchemy is still practiced and apothecaries aid the new surgeons. Samo, Kia and Kiara are students at the Academy. Samo was accused of killing the master he was apprenticed to. Even though he was cleared, he’s still under suspicion for his talent, his quick temper and his controversial beliefs.

Samo is a student inventor who can no longer be an apprentice, because no master will take him on. He’s erratic, hot-tempered, sensitive to insults, and prone to mood swings. He ignores everyone who disagrees with him, any rules he doesn’t agree with, and anyone he thinks is incompetent. He’s usually in trouble with someone, if not the law. He reminds me of some anime characters; going from red-cheeked rage to a broad smile or tears in 2 seconds. Kia and Kiara are his friends who seem to get swept up in his wake. Kia comes across as rather twitchy and bewildered. His sister seems to like Samo but is still nervous of his temper. They’re all in their late teens.

The backstory of the war is coming slowly, mostly through dialog between the characters. Usually someone is reminding Samo why he shouldn’t show so much interest in the mysterious Inventor, or the Inventors Order, or mention his belief in the High King of Heaven. Apparently, the history most people know isn’t the whole truth and Samo wants to find out what really happened. He also wants to find out who killed Gianan, his master, and why. After chapter 3 there are a series of “flashback stories” which fill in a some of the backstory of Samo and Gianan.

The writing at the beginning of the story was a bit uneven, with some awkward phrasing and a bit too much detail in the description of simple actions. The first 4 or 5 parts were very short, often less than a screenful, and not much happened. The more recent parts have gotten longer, with much cleaner writing and more of a story arc. However, the pacing still feels a bit uneven. There are long sections with only dialog and description. Then there will be a “scene” where Samo runs off and Kia and Kiara are running after him. The overall feeling is of a lot of talking, punctuated by running around with little result.

At the time of writing this review, the navigation links “Next Page” and “Previous Page” are broken, however, there is a calendar with the dates of the entries which can be used to get to the next part.

At 4 chapters, “Tales of the Inventors War” is the beginning of a competently written story about a masterless apprentice inventor in an age when inventors are viewed with suspicion. The tone is light, the characters are starting to flesh out, and the backstory is slowly filling in. As the writing continues to improve it may develop into a very interesting novel. It’s currently worth a look.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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By nomesque, author of Nomesque Fiction

Feb 2, 2009: I wasn’t overly impressed by the premise of this story. Post-apocalyptic world, old technologies, a young curious student . . . this had the potential to be all a bit same-y.

However, the storyline has kept me interested for two and a half chapters so far. The main character, Samo, is engaging (if bratty), and the dialogue had me laughing aloud in places. I’m consistently wanting to turn the page (metaphorically) and find out more about this mysterious Inventor and the Order he presumably left behind him. Not to mention the new chaos this kid is going to cause.

Negatives? The sentence structure is convoluted and difficult to navigate at times. The action is a little jerky in places. That said, the jerkiness seems to fit Samo quite well – he strikes me as the manic-depressive type 🙂 Some of the cultural references seem out of place, and not entirely thought through.

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