A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies!
Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life . . . and his heart.
Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.
Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.
This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition.
In which the reader is introduced to our hero, Piccadilly—Concerning his birth, parentage (or lack thereof), history, education (or lack thereof), charms, endowments, and virtues (or lack thereof)—Of the skymining town of Prosperity and our hero’s arrival therein—Descriptions of a game of cards and sundry persons of variable character and importance—The lamentable actions of an ungentlemanly gentleman—Some notes on the workings of skyhooks
I ain’t never been one for truth-telling, and all that shite about what your father was called, and where you was squeezed yowling out your mother—but this ’ere tale ain’t your everyday moonshine.
See, it begins with a town called Prosperity.
It don’t really matter how I came to be there, cos back in them days, everybody was going. Way I heard it, the rush started cos of this one cull who got himself an airship and took to the skies over Gaslight. He went up there with pockets full of sweet fuck-all, and came down again with enough phlogiston to light up England for a year. Made him flusher than that Greek bugger what I read about.
And that’s when folks started buying up the sky, turning nowhere places like Prosperity into somewhere places. Leastways for the sorta folk who didn’t have nowt to stay put for, or had sommat to run from. And them as rather’d go clutching at dreams than turn their forepaws to honest graft.
About the Author
Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.
He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.
He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.
He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.