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Time’s Arrow: Black Swan by Jonathan Green

Ulysses Quicksilver: agent of the throne, dandy and hero. Heart-broken, battered, mutilated and shot, he’s been driven backwards and forwards in time, and his latest adventure is taking him across Steampunk Paris…

Time’s Arrow: Black Swan continues to offer readers a unique opportunity – to decide the course of this latest Pax Britannia adventure will take in the next part! In the tradition of Charles Dickens himself, Abaddon Books will be publishing Time’s Arrow in three ebook instalments. At the end of parts one and two readers will be able to vote on how the adventure progresses via the Abaddon Books website at www.abaddonbooks.com. The entire text will then be published in a paperback edition.

This is book two, Time’s Arrow: Black Swan, in which our hero – wanted by the French Police for murder – battles his way across Paris, from the Louvre to Notre Dame, in order to prove his innocence. But does Ulysses try to contact Department Q for help or does he go in search of the mysterious M. Lumière? And who else will come to his aid in his hour of need?

It will come as little surprise to regular visitors of the site, that I am taking a look at the most recent addition to the ever expanding Pax Britannia universe. I’ve been a fan of this series ever since I read the first novel, Unnatural History, and it doesn’t look like my opinion will be changing any time soon.

I would, however, offer the following words of caution before you read any further. I don’t think Black Swan is the place to begin if you are new to the world of Ulysses Quicksilver. This middle section of Time’s Arrow wasn’t written to be read in isolation. The repercussions from the fall out of previous novels is still being felt, and there is the distinct possibility you’ll be lost if you jump in at this point. If you want to check out Pax Britannia, and I certainly urge you to, do yourself a favour and seek out Mr Quicksilver’s previous adventures first. Then you can come at Black Swan fully informed.

When this latest chapter of Time’s Arrow begins, things continue to go from bad to worse for Mr Quicksilver. He has already been thrown around in time so much that he doesn’t know if he is coming or going. Now, on top of all that, he finds himself prime suspect in a murder mystery. I’ve come to rely on Pax Britannia for full on steampunk inspired adventure where just about anything can, and often does, happen. Insect-obsessed anarchists, cybernetically-enhanced silverbacks, and a rather special bicycle are just a few of the delights on display in this case.

Black Swan suffers the unenviable task of being the middle book in what is effectively a trilogy. The author has to try and keep the story moving forward, while ensuring that the pace never flags for a moment. I’m pleased to say he pulls it off, and I will be waiting with baited breath for the final instalment of this episodic e-novel.

As an aside, back on 14th February this year, Ulysses Quicksilver creator Jonathan Green posted the following message via the internet marvel that is Twitter.

The link he posted was to the following

I liked the music, it reminded me of the Hans Zimmer soundtracks to Inception and The Dark Knight, and I filed it away in the dark recesses of my brain for future reference.

When I finally got my grubby little mitts on Black Swan and began to read, the random throw away comment that Mr Green had made wormed its way back into my head. I’ve read all of the Pax Britannia novels that he has written, and I realised that there has always been an internal soundtrack playing along as I read.

What music then did I associate with Black Swan? When I think about the latest Pax Britannia novel what musical accompaniment do I hear? For me Ulysses Quicksilver has always typified the classic British gent and this particular adventure is all about the chase. Black Swan is a frenetic affair and so required a suitably rousing theme. After much thought I decided that the following best captures the novel’s spirit.

Whenever I think of Ulysses Quicksilver dashing through the chaotic streets of Paris The Devils Gallop will forever pop into my head, it just seems to terribly apt. I don’t think Dick Barton – Special Agent would be horribly offended to be in such esteemed company either.

Time’s Arrow: Black Swan is published by Abaddon Books and is available for your Kindle now.

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