The Transatlantic Conspiracy
G. D. Falksen
Soho Teen, June 2016
Oh, I do love a story about bad girls and The Transatlantic Conspiracy is quintessential. Rosalind’s own words best define her when she explains to Alix, “I drive motorcars and I’m a suffragist, so my reputation is already a bit uncertain.” Their mutual friend Cecily not only tinkers with clocks, but has been known to write “strongly worded letters” to express her displeasure or disappointment. Embarking on the maiden voyage of the underwater railway, Alix is quick to confirm that her traveling companions both know “how to give a swift quick and a good stab” (with a hatpin).
Perhaps I should mention that this steampunk story begins on May 25, 1908. My first book from this fantastical, science-fiction subgenre complete with advanced machines and modern technology. It did not disappoint.
Rosalind is quite accustomed to traveling alone, despite being female and seventeen years old. She has every confidence in her father’s perpetually advancing railways, whether it be traveling above water on an impossibly long bridge or seven days underneath, riding a train through the ocean from Germany to New York. She may not cherish her reluctant role as a “pawn in her father’s advertising campaign”, but she has never felt afraid. Until now.
From the beginning, with Cecily and sibling Charles unexpectedly announcing plans to accompany Rosalind to America, to feeling inexplicably unnerved at the station, Rosalind is overcome with unease as she boards. A strange skepticism settles; people seem to smile around secrets tucked safely away. Charles disappears. Two passengers are murdered. It is only the second day.
Fully engaging with twists and turns, sneaky surprises, loyal friendships and levity, The Transatlantic Conspiracy was a fascinating foray into steampunk.
Reviewed by jv poore, May 2016.