image M J Findley
image M J Findley

A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist:
A Steampunk Literary Tribute Adventure
The Alexander Legacy – Volume 1
by Sophronia Belle Lyon

ISBN-13: 978-0615840284 (Trade Paperback)
Pages: 402
Pub Date: June 2013
Publisher: Findley Family Video Publications


This is a story about a prince who is betrayed, loses everything (including his family), is spirited out of his country by friends, and eventually, after a period of time as a poor mercenary, lands in Victorian-era London running a tobacco shop. But not our London; rather, a London where he is befriended by a number of familiarly-named literary characters who are ….. somewhat different from what we might remember. Think Oliver Twist as an inventor of some fantastical machinery!

This is a really good read, with much imagination and thought put into the characterizations and the story. There is excitement, adventure, mystery, drama, even a love story, all bound by a pretty heavy Christian influence. I found the story hard to put down. But for me, it wasn’t all fun and games.

As much as I enjoyed the story, there were some disappointments. Or at least some difficulties with suspension of disbelief. Some of the devices and machines described were a little too fantastical for me. For instance, an airship which could be disguised as a coach and six? An “iPad” that’s gear-driven? With WiFi? Which can be used to control the airship? Pure fantasy, sure, but steampunk? Admittedly, my take on steampunk is that the technology is at least almost believable, given the lack of certain taken-for-granted technologies today, like electronics. Possibly if the author had provided some rudimentary explanations for how these inventions worked, I might have been better satisfied. But some of these things are just too far away from implausible possibility for me to take seriously their existence anywhere except in a very advanced technology. Nit-picky? Well, maybe, but I like to get an idea of how stuff might work, and with a number of these inventions I had no idea. Even so, it did not overly detract from my enjoyment of the story.

So go on, read, enjoy, escape reality for a while with this installment. — David Reynolds