Blog Tour 6 b: Philippa Ballentine

Dawn's Early Light

A Different Kind of Steampunk Lady


Philippa Ballantine

 The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, is the steampunk series I write with my husband, Tee Morris, and I hope it is as much fun to read as it was for us to write.

In case you are wondering Steampunk is a form of science fiction set usually in Victorian England. Here’s a bit of a deeper explanation from our website.

The Ministry is a department of Queen Victoria’s government that explores the strange, the unusual, and the bizarre that the police are not equipped to handle. It is also active all over the British Empire, so there are lots of stories from all over the world.

The main characters that we first started writing are Eliza D Braun and Wellington Thornhill Books. Eliza is a secret agent from New Zealand, who because of some rather unfortunate incidents in the field, is demoted down to the archives of the Ministry. Wellington is the Chief Archivist with plenty of secrets of his own, but he seems—at least initially—to be rather stuffy and addicted to rules and regulations. Eliza soon discovers cold cases in the archives, and drags Wellington along with her to investigate.

So far the series includes, anthologies, short stories, free podcasts, a roleplaying game (launching soon) and three novels.

For something that started as a bit of a lark between Tee and I when I was living in New Zealand and he was here in Virginia, it has certainly gone far. It’s won lots of awards, and been a Locus Bestseller.

Book Three is By Dawn’s Early Light, and is coming out on March 25th. To give you a little taste, here is a sample of the very first chapter.

Sophia del Morte is a deadly Italian assassin, who has quickly become one of the fan favorites. No Ministry book would be complete without a little of her.

Dunes shift. Coastlines, under the elements, change. The sky is full of fleeting moods. So too the usually pretty face of Sophia del Morte, which was currently marred by a frown. She now stood on the sandbank, looking out to sea, her dark eyes underneath an equally dark hat scanning the horizon with eagle-like determination. This looked like the right place.

From the inside of her corset she withdrew the detailed map of the Outer Banks that the Maestro had given her. These details included coordinates, something Sophia trusted. If she were off her mark by the smallest distance, things could go disastrously wrong. That he should place his own fate so securely in her hands made even this seasoned assassin quiver with delight.

She had travelled by an exceedingly fast charter vessel, the Mercury. It was hardly comfortable compared to the Maestro’s massive airship, the Titan, but she had required speed above all. He had been most emphatic about where to be and at what time. Even with the swiftness of her charter, she’d arrived in Newport News, Virginia, only to immediately run from aeroport to train depot, catching the one train that could take her to some poor excuse of a town in North Carolina, then grabbing a coach—again, chartered by the Maestro—that whisked her to the edge of the eastern seaboard overnight. She was exhausted but still focused.

An airship as huge as Titan would draw notice everywhere it went, no matter if the port was a major terminal or one barely used. Here, on this lonely strand of beach, there was no need to worry about being observed. Sophia could not wait for the reunion.

Hope you enjoyed a little taste. Thanks to Dan for hosting it on his site. Don’t forget to check out Write by the Rails, which is full of a diverse range of amazing writers. You can find out more about the Ministry at our site, and me here.

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