Army of Brass Preview

As I’ve discussed earlier, last year was my year for playing other people’s sandboxes. One of these was my first real foray into Steampunk writing -- Army of Brass.

I’ve worked on collaborative projects before, but the writing process for this one was truly unique. Each author signed up for a number of chapters to write, which were then assigned by the editors. When the time for your chapter rolled around, you had the previous chapter and a lot of notes about previously written material, characters, places, etc. There was a strong feeling of community, as a number of people were coming together to create this world. At the same time, there was an element of competition, as multiple authors were working on each chapter.

Army of Brass is currently available for pre-order. I don’t want to wrench my arm patting myself on the back, but I think it’s pretty amazing. It’s got airships and giant automatons, murder, revenge...what more could you ask for?

A preview glance at one of the chapters? I suppose you could ask for that. Guess what, you’re in luck, I happen to have one of those right here.

Even more fun, this is where we get to see the giant automatons, once treasured saviors which have come to be feared because of their awesome power. A little bit of set up -- the valley in which the giant machines have come to rest is highly toxic, requiring the use of air suits. Master Tinkerer Elaina has just saved airship Captain Jack’s life when his suit failed.



An Excerpt from Chapter 9 of Army of Brass

With the preparations complete, the trio donned their masks once more. Jack was relieved to feel the cool air pulsing against his face immediately. Tom pulled the lever, and the door hissed aside. “Don’t be too long.” His words were directed at Elaina, who moved off with purpose. Jack followed behind her, echoing the sentiment in mind.

“I’m sorry if this has dampened your feelings about the air suits,” she said. "This is honestly the first problem we've ever had. But this does give us a very secure place to tell you more of our plans. And I've got something I know you'll want to see."

With the mists rising as high as his waist, it was impossible to know where to place one's feet. Jack stepped carefully, his head down. Elaina stopped, and he bumped right into her. When he looked up to apologize, the view robbed him of his voice.

The enormous eye stared at him from out of the fog. The massive, severed head lay on its side, an array of wires and cables trailing from its neck in a strange imitation of gore. Its features were enormous, much larger up close than Jack had imagined when he'd seen them from his airship. He stepped forward, no longer concerned with the tripping hazards hidden by the fog. The copper was pitted and stained. Nubs as big as chairs extended from the sides where ears would be on a human head. Elaina pointed at a long, elegant rod extending from the top of its brass skull.

"We think we can use the antennae to deliver simple commands via radio signal, but we've not had any luck with finding the frequency yet." Elaina's hushed voice vibrated with reverence, but Jack puzzled over the new words like antennae and radio. "Theoretically," she continued cheerily, "it should be possible to control multiple automatons from one central system, much in the way a general controls an army."

Jack's eyes traveled up the side of the valley, tracing the line of the nearest massive body. The chest and torso employed a series of interlocking panels. He saw they would protect whatever mechanisms were locked inside. Whatever was in there, it was secure, but the wear on the plates suggested they would slide over one another to provide flexibility and a range of motion.

One of the things arms ended in a spade-shaped blade, big enough to slice through the front of a building. The other terminated abruptly, halfway between the shoulder and where the elbow would have been. Rods and gears, twisted by some enormous force, hung from the space. It was hard to imagine what could have done that kind of damage to the metal giant, except perhaps the inexorable march of time.

"It's... it's amazing."

"They all are," she agreed. "Especially the ones that are still whole."

Jack looked back out across the valley. Uncountable copies of the brilliant monstrosity lined up against the natural wall. Some shone with reflected light, while others had the dull, gray-green patina of copper which has withstood the elements for ages. At first glance, he'd assumed they were all identical, but as his gaze wandered, he found some were smaller, while others' arms ended in pincers or odd, three-fingered hands. Far below, he spied a few truncated versions, their upper torsos on huge wheeled carts or belted treads.

"What do you think?" Elaina asked. "Do we stand a chance against the Hunter Baron's army with these?"

Jack had to tear his eyes away from the sight before him. Elaina's eyes still gleamed, but they were hooded, concern and questioning sharing space with wonder and pride.

"No force in existence could stand before this army."

"So will you help us, then? You'll convince the Capital Cartographers Society to lend us ships and pilots?"

“I will find a way to get you those airships if I have to steal them myself." The solemness in his voice surprised even him. He paused, glanced at the automaton army and then back at Elaina, and added a wink. "But I don't think it will come to that.


Pre-order your ebook copy of Army of Brass for $.99 and receive it on Friday, April 27!

Read the full Chapter 1 on Steampunk Journal or an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 3, or check out an interview with writer Jason Pere as part of our blog tour, now until May 13.

Plus, Join us on Facebook April 28-29 to meet the writers, participate in giveaways, and more!

Speaking of giveaways, we’ve got one going on for the entire blog tour, so between April 13-May 13, enter to win ebooks from our writers.

1. Written by a pretty kick ass author who is also an all around great guy.
2. OK, you got me. I wrote it.