Monday, July 17, 2017

Excerpt & Giveaway: Arabella and The Battle of Venus by David D. Levine


The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the second book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine's swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

The swashbuckling Arabella Ashby is back for brand new adventure in the ongoing story of her life among the stars.

Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain.

To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.


“Arabella, a human teenager born on Mars, is catapulted into adventure in a tale that cleverly combines some of the most intriguing elements of steampunk and classic science fiction. In an alternate 1812, Arabella’s mother moves her three daughters to Earth and away from the wild influences of the Martian colony. When the family gets news that Arabella’s father has died on Mars, the headstrong 17-year-old girl disguises herself as a boy and hires on with one of the great ships that sail the solar winds between the planets, planning to protect her brother, who’s still on Mars, from treachery. Along the way, she faces privateers and mutiny, but Arabella is resourceful and courageous, gamely enduring hardship to accomplish her mission. Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Debut of the Month. Embedded in the chaos of clockwork and space adventure, Arabella is a delightful heroine with more than enough fortitude to traverse the solar system. … A fanciful romp through a cosmic 1812, Hugo Award–winning Levine’s first novel is a treat for steampunk fantasy fans.”— Library Journal, starred review

“Excellent, entertaining, humorous scenarios make up Levine’s latest. His storytelling will keep readers turning the pages with its slight edginess, light-hearted tone and clear, crisp dialogue. Arabella is strong, sassy and clever, and her journey, as she makes her way back to Mars on an airship, makes this story an engaging read. ★★★★”— Melanie BatesRT Book Reviews

“David Levine has reached back past the Martian romances of Percival Lowell to an even earlier moment, creating a precursor to steampunk that I suppose we should call sailpunk. It’s a delightful addition to the Matter of Mars, bridging the long gap between Kepler and Burroughs with a Regency entry, filled with all the drama of the Napoleonic wars, now here complicated by a drastic Martian intervention, and animated most of all by Arabella, a young woman filled with curiosity and courage. It’s a very clever and entertaining start to a memorable saga.”— Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Red Mars

“Regency space opera in its best form! An intrepid, intelligent heroine, wonderful characters, and a breathtaking conflict. Who could ask for more?”— Patricia Rice, bestselling author of Regency romances

“If Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Patrick O’Brian had sat down together to compose a tale to amuse Jane Austen, the result might be Arabella. So. Much. Fun!”— Madeleine Robins, author of the Sarah Tolerance series

“Hugo award winning author David D. Levine’s first full length novel, Arabella of Mars, is the delicious love child of Jane Austen, Patrick O’Brian, and Jules Verne! Sent back to England from her family’s estate on Mars, Arabella despises the life of a staid young Regency lady. Then a shocking threat to her family on Mars forces her to undertake a desperate, impossible journey back to the colony–a journey that will change her forever. Arabella Ashby is a great character, and wonderful worldbuilding, tight plotting, and a breakneck pace make Arabella of Mars a real page turner! I look forward to the next book in the series.”— Mary Jo Putney, bestselling author of Not Always a Saint and Once a Soldier

“Levine has created a wonderful alternate 19th century, with interplanetary airships, space pirates, automatons, Martians, and a young woman determined to save her family. This book reminded me how much fun reading can be. This book makes me want to take an airship to Mars. Right now. Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of pulp and steampunk and old-fashioned adventure, set in a fascinating alternate version of our solar system.”— Jim C. Hines, author of the Magic ex Libris series

“David Levine takes the ‘girl disguises herself for nautical adventures’ story into new dimensions with this delightful interplanetary romance. Murderous relatives, alien culture clashes, a dashing romance, and high seas adventure in the void between Earth and Mars — it’s all the good parts of the old pulp style, updated for the twenty-first century.”— Marie Brennan, author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent series

“David Levine’s entertaining debut is a delightfully detailed airship adventure, complete with romance, pirates, Martians, automata, and a charming Jules Vernian imagining of the alternate-world science involved in sailing a ship straight through our solar system.”— Tina Connolly, author of the Ironskin trilogy

“Interplanetary pirates! Imperiled inheritances! Disguises! Rebellion! Romance! Arabella of Mars is a blast — a smart, resourceful heroine, a non-stop adventure packed with thrills, charm and surprises, and a fascinating world I hope to see a lot more of. A thoroughly engaging debut.”— Kurt Busiek, writer of Astro City

“Fans of tall ships, steampunk SF, and swashbuckling adventure should love Arabella’s splendid race back to the Mars Colony in alternate 1813! This is a terrific novel!”— Sherwood Smith, writer of fantasy, historical romance, and science fiction

“Arabella of Mars is a perfect blend of Regency romance and imaginative, exciting space opera. Levine offers a story grounded in historical detail that soars to new heights of adventure and fun.”— Michael J. Martinez, author of The Daedalus Incident

“This rollicking interplanetary adventure captured my heart. Who could resist a world in which coal-powered ships sail to Mars, borne aloft by balloons of Venusian silk, doing battle en route with French privateers? To protect family and fortune, Arabella Ashby masquerades as a boy and takes a berth as a cabin boy on a fascinating voyage. There’s a mysterious captain, an intriguing automaton, pirates, Martians, a bit of romance, and so much more. I’m grateful Levine has promised a sequel. Arabella Ashby proves herself to be a clever and capable heroine, and I’m looking forward to her next adventure.”— Pat Murphy, author of Wild Angel

“Shades of Jules Verne! This rollicking adventure from David Levine thrills with Regency whizzbang!”— Ellen Klages, author of The Green Glass Sea

The huresh- coach rattled along, Gowse driving the scuttling creatures forward with more than usual haste. One look at Arabella’s face had shown him her urgency, her need to leave town and return to Woodthrush Woods as quickly as possible.            Quite contrary to propriety, Arabella rode atop the coach next to her huresh- groom and former shipmate. The cool air whipping through her hair suited her desire for immediate action, and it served to revive her  after the stifling warmth of Government House.            One of the team began to pull to the side—it was Nimrod, a scarlet- shelled buck with a strong  will— but with a cluck of his tongue and a quick lash of the reins against Nimrod’s carapace, Gowse brought the beast back into line. For a human, born and raised on Earth, Gowse had a remarkable facility with huresh. “They’s no different from horses,” he liked to say, “apart from the eight legs and the looking like giant beetles.”            Gowse was a huge, burly airman with broad shoulders and the enormous calves typical of those who strain at the pedals to propel their craft across the airy spaces between the planets. His unlovely face was marred by a badly broken nose—an injury which Arabella herself had inflicted, in a fair fight, earning for herself Gowse’s respect and loyalty. So much so, in fact, that when Diana had departed for Venus he had chosen to remain on Mars and join the staff at Woodthrush Woods.            As they pulled through the plantation’s gate— which still bore the scars of the insurrectionists’ forked spears— Gowse slowed the team from its headlong pace so as not to startle any of the servants or animals. With the rush of wind and the rattle of wheels somewhat stilled, and the storm of difficult sentiments that had been clogging her throat somewhat abated, Arabella found herself able to converse.            “I have had some news about the captain,” she said after a long hesitation. “Though I must confess it did not reach my ears through any official channels.”            Gowse gave her a sidelong glance. “Not good news, I’ll warrant.”            She shook her head, unsurprised by Gowse’s comment— her sullen silence and downcast expression on boarding the coach would have made the character of her news quite clear— nor by his bluntness. “It seems that Napoleon’s chief gaoler on Venus is to be replaced, and his replacement is a man called Fouché.”            “The Executioner of Lyon?” Gowse’s expression darkened.            “You have heard of him?”            “Every airman’s heard of him, Miss Ashby. Master gunners frighten their powder- monkeys with tales of Fouché’s cruelty. When he was minister of police during the war, even cowards’d fight to the death rather’n be taken as prisoners  under his tender mercies. Even Bonaparte’s afraid of him.”            Arabella felt her own mouth tightening to match Gowse’s sour expression. “Then  there is no time to be lost.”            He quirked an eyebrow at her.           She leaned in close. “Venus and Mars are in conjunction. To reach Venus, Fouché’s ship will be forced to take the long route around the Sun, but the distance from Mars is much less. If I were to depart immediately, I could easily reach Venus before he does— as much as several months earlier. Time enough to devise some stratagem to free the captain from his imprisonment.”            The carriage pulled up in front of the manor  house then, and the stable- boys came  running out to unhitch the huresh. “Won’t be easy to find passage to Venus,” Gowse said as he assisted Arabella down from the carriage, “what with Napoleon and all. But I’ll ask around and see what’s in port.”            “Thank you, Gowse. I appreciate your assistance.”            Nothin’ I wouldn’t do for an old shipmate,” he replied, and winked.  Copyright 2017 by David D. Levine 


David D. Levine is the multi-award-winning author of the Regency interplanetary airship adventure novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016), sequel Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Tor 2017), and more than fifty science fiction and fantasy stories. Arabella of Mars won the 2017 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, his story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the 2006 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, his story “Nucleon” won the James White Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Sturgeon, and Locus. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, Realms of Fantasy,, numerous anthologies and websites, and multiple Year’s Best anthologies, as well as his collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press, which won the Endeavour Award for the best SF or Fantasy book by a Pacific Northwest writer.

David is a contributor to George R. R. Martin’s bestselling shared-world series Wild Cards. He is also a member of Book View Cafe, a writer-owned publishing cooperative, and Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc., a non-profit organization which produces OryCon and other SF conventions. He has narrated podcasts for Escape Pod, PodCastle, and StarShipSofa and the audiobook of Space Magic, and his video production “Dr. Talon’s Letter to the Editor” was a finalist for the Parsec Award. In 2010 he spent two weeks at the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated Mars base in the Utah desert.

David lives in a hundred-year-old bungalow in Portland, Oregon. His web site can be found at

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