Daily Archives: August 4, 2008

The Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones

Howard Whitehouse‘s charming series, The Mad Misadventures of Emmaline and Rubberbones, needs more attention. The Strictest School in the World, The Faceless Fiend, and (forthcoming) The Island of Mad Scientists are terrific fun. Set in an alternate Victorian UK, the books feature the intrepid Emmaline, the daughter of two stuffy Brits in India, who loves to design flying machines. In the first book, while attending the well-called strictest school in the world, she meets Robert Burns, aka Rubberbones, a sturdy young boy who loves to fly, and the Princess Purnah, a wild young woman from a clearly intentionally stereotypic-in-the-Victorian-tradition Asian country. Dreadful dinosaurs, vile villains, and witty writing make the first book a total romp to read. The second takes our trio to London where they meet up with Sherlock Holmes and deal with a horrid fiend who is after the princess for nefarious reasons (of course).  The third (my favorite) takes place in an alternate Scotland and involves a mystery Collector of (what else?) mad scientists. Tesla and Freud, among others, show up in his collection. In the witty alternate history tradition of Joan Aiken, but with a distinct feel all of their own, these books are a delight to read.

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