Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War - Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.

***PREFACE TO THIS REVIEW: This book was provided to me from the publisher prior to its release for review. My opinions are honest and I don’t hold back. Thanks to 47 North and Netgalley! Now, on to the review!!

Well, this swash-bucking hero of a post-apocalyptic steam punk world has returned. Captain Romulus Buckle…you just might be a modern day pirate after my own heart.

“The frozen wasteland of Snow World - known as Southern California before an alien invasion decimated civilization - is home to warring steampunk clans. Crankshafts, Imperials, Tinskins, Brineboilers, and many more all battle one another for precious supplies, against ravenous mutant beasts for basic survival, and with the mysterious Founders for their very freedom. Through this ruined world soars the Pneumatic Zeppelin, captained by the daring Romulus Buckle. In the wake of a nearly suicidal assault on the Founders prison city to rescue key military leaders, both the steam-powered airship and its crew are bruised and battered. Yet there's little time for rest or repairs: Founders raids threaten to shatter the fragile alliance Buckle has risked everything to forge among the clans. Even as he musters what seems a futile defense in the face of inevitable war, Buckle learns that the most mysterious clan of all is holding his long-lost sister in a secret base - and that she holds the ultimate key to victory over the Founders. But rescuing her means abandoning his allies and praying they survive long enough for there to be an alliance to return to.”

 Oh Romulus Buckle…where do I begin with you? You are fun and action packed. You are pirate and a gentleman, fierce and loyal and completely charges into battle sometimes without thinking things through fully. He is pretty much what you expect in the way of a dashing hero. All the characters are fun and carry their individual air of mystery to them. And I have to say, that this second installment, was much easier and faster to read.

The writing itself seems to not be as awkward and jumbled. Also, there was less character descriptions of clothing and more story telling. Yay! The best part of the book for me in regards to how well the middle was done. I know that sounds, well, dumb. But let’s be real. It’s always the middle of the book that drags us down because we have to climb up hill, building tension and suspense until finally! Climax! (not that kind of climax…get your brains out of the gutter!) We have all the clans coming together to battle against the Founders! Oh, those mysterious Founders!  There's are pretty impressive swording fighting scene between a fancy schmancy Founder officer and Buckle. This book is just too much fun! Action and romance and more action and shenanigans and the constant revelations of all the characters.

There are many revelations in this book. So many, that you almost have to wear eye protection the way all the revelations are flying about. And what are these admissions and surprises you may ask? Well…..I fear that might give away soooooo much of this tale. Just trust me when I say, they are everywhere. It’s almost as if Richard Ellis Preston Jr realized he might have left too many unanswered questions and mysteries in the first book, City of Founders. I’m all for mystery, but I don’t want to be scratching my head thinking “what the hell is going on?” The author seems to have found a balance in the providing us answers and leaving us guessing.

After reading this book, I totally and completely suggest the series. Some might have an issue with getting through the first book, but I promise, the story gets better and better….and for sure…the way this ends. There’s going to be a third book. So come Captain Buckle, bring on the adventure!
Remember to be yourself….unless you can be a pirate.
Then always be a pirate!


  1. Great review! And yes, my mind wandered I'd into the gutter during the middle part.


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