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Secrets Of The Fire Sea [Hardcover]

Stephen Hunt

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Book Description

March 8 2010
A tale of high adventure and derring-do set in the same Victorian-style world as the acclaimed The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon. The isolated island of Jago is the only place Hannah Conquest has ever known as home. Encircled by the magma ocean of the Fire Sea, it was once the last bastion of freedom when the world struggled under the tyranny of the Chimecan Empire during the age-long winter of the cold-time. But now this once-shining jewel of civilization faces an uncertain future as its inhabitants emigrate to greener climes, leaving the basalt plains and raging steam storms far behind them. For Hannah and her few friends, the streets of the island's last occupied underground city form a vast, near-deserted playground. But Hannah's carefree existence comes to an abrupt halt when her guardian, Archbishop Alice Gray, is brutally murdered in her own cathedral. Someone desperately wants to suppress a secret kept by the archbishop, and if the attempts on Hannah's own life are any indication, the killer believes that Alice passed the knowledge of it onto her ward before her saintly head was separated from her neck. But it soon becomes clear that there is more at stake than the life of one orphan. A deadly power struggle is brewing on Jago, involving rival factions in the senate and the island's most powerful trading partner. And it's beginning to look as if the deaths of Hannah's archaeologist parents shortly after her birth were very far from accidental. Soon the race is on for Hannah and her friends to unravel a chain of hidden riddles and follow them back to their source to save not just her own life, but her island home itself.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: UK General Books (March 8 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007289634
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007289639
  • Product Dimensions: 15.8 x 3.7 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #765,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Stephen Hunt: 'Hunt's imagination is probably visible from space. He scatters concepts that other writers would mine for a trilogy like chocolate-bar wrappers. This is Philip Pullman with a dose of benzedrine. Hold on to your hat and let yourself get carried away.' Tom Holt 'A ripping yarn ! the story pounds along ! constant inventiveness keeps the reader hooked ! the finale is a cracking succession of cliffhangers and surprise comebacks. Great fun' SFX 'An inventive, ambitious work, full of wonders and marvels' Lisa Tuttle, The Times 'The characters are convincing and colourful, but the real achievement is the setting, a hellish take on Victorian London ! the depth and complexity of Hunt's vision makes it compulsive reading for all ages' Guardian 'Wonderfully assured ! Hunt knows what his audience like and gives it to them with a sardonic wit and carefully developed tension' Time Out 'All manner of bizarre and fantastical extravagance.' Daily Mail 'Rich and colourful !keeps you engrossed !a confident, audacious novel' SFX 'Like a magpie, Stephen Hunt has plucked colourful events from history and politics and used them for inspiration ! Hunts tells his full-blooded tale with lip-smacking relish, revealing a vivid, often gruesome imagination ! [it] brims with originality and, from the first, its chase-filled plot never lets up' Starburst 'Studded with invention' Independent

About the Author

Stephen Hunt has worked as a writer, editor and publisher for a number of magazines and national newspaper groups in the UK. He is also the founder of www.SFcrowsnest.com, one of the oldest and most popular fan-run science fiction and fantasy websites. Born in Canada, the author divides his time between the UK, North America and Spain. His interests include computer programming, the graphic arts and collecting comics. One day he hopes to have a library large enough to house all of his books.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced and brilliantly creepy Aug. 27 2010
By April M. Steenburgh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is my favorite of the series so far. Most of the pacing issues I had with previous books, the sort of situation where everything goes to hell in such a rushed fashion the reader is almost left behind, are delightfully absent in this one. The Commodore drove me nuts, as usual, with his eternal put-upon misery, but even that had a fantastic pay off by the end. I think, after finishing the book, that Commodore Black was one of my favorite characters. His scene at the end is just so visceral. Not punches pulled. And I loved it.

Add in Jethro Daunt, the Circlist priest who was kicked out due do the fact he hears old gods (possessing an amazing talent for deductive reasoning), and his companion Boxiron, the head of a Steamman Knight inexpertly attached to the inferior man-made machine body (with an issue with aggression and stuck gears, not to mention a black market skill set) , and Fire Sea has a cast that not only grabs the readers attention but pulls them through each and every page. Every now and then Jethro appears to be a fantastic hat tilt to Sherlock Holmes, and on occasion made me chuckle with appreciation. His first scene in the book really drives that impression, and I was unable to get it out of my head whenever he was in a scene for the rest of the book.

The main protagonist is Hannah Conquest, ward of the church and math prodigy. She is interesting, but serves more as a reason to bring the rest of the cast together than anything else. Purity and Molly remain far more compelling heroines in my opinion.

The isle of Jago itself presents a creepy, hellish setting. From the corrupting domain of the valvemen to the beasts that roam the exterior of the city there is an omnipresent sense of danger and horror. The book itself is full of murder, conspiracy, and skulking Old Gods, which combined with the setting adds the twisted horror aspect I have come to love and expect from Hunt's books.

The Ursine race added another interesting culture to the social menagerie that populates the world, and the fact the plot hinged on something more mundane than most of the other novels- race/culture conflict between the Humans and the Ursines- the book as a whole was a more intriguing read.

This is a wholly brilliant addition to the series. I highly recommend picking it up!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this, but not as much as the previous novels March 30 2012
By Jane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mm! This isn't my favorite of the series, I think I actually preferred both the first and second over Secrets. That said, it's still fun and engaging. The story and plot twists are particularly well paced in this one. Character development is wonderful- as usual. Jethro and Boxiron are -delightful- and the introduction of a new race is wonderful as well. Learning about a place that escaped the villains of the first book was pretty spectacular too. Stephen Hunt's created universe is just so rich and intriguing it's hard not to enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Hunt is a spectacular writer Oct. 29 2011
By keepinthatempo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you enjoy books that keep you on edge through the whole story this is one for you. another great work by stephen. the same suspenseful story he produces with all his jackileain books but with those twists and turns that no other could produce. gives more back story on a few of the character's and of course Ole' Blackey is right in the middle of everything.
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent addition to the series Oct. 22 2013
By Joel E. Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a fairly typical installment in Hunt's steampunk-esque "Jackelian World" series. As always, his world-building is superb. The story features a blend of geopolitical intrigue and supernatural elements as in the other 3 books, but they do seem to be better balanced than previously (i.e. the supernatural elements are not so powerful that in the end they completely trump every other part of the story like they do in The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon (Jackelian World)).

The plot focuses quite a bit on several kinds of religions: one folk/animistic, one faith-based and centered on a holy book, and one that was wholly rational and atheistic. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly what point, if any, the author was trying to make (the tone seemed generally derogatory and antagonistic regarding the possibility of objective truth and/or primarily beneficial effects in any religion). Overall: not a masterpiece, but the overall plot and world-building was entertaining enough to be worth a read if you are into this sort of fantasy/sci-fi.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting July 3 2013
By Nino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story is interesting and not at all what I expected. I did however get confused between the characters, not always being sure who is whom.

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