Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Marvelous Mechanical Man by Rie Sheridan Rose


By Rie Sheridan Rose


The Marvelous Mechanical Man is the first book in a Steampunk series
featuring the adventures of Josephine Mann, an independent woman in need
of a way to pay her rent. She meets Professor Alistair Conn, in need of
a lab assistant, and a partnership is created that proves exciting
adventure for both of them.

Alistair’s prize invention is an automaton standing nine feet tall.
There’s a bit of a problem though…he can’t quite figure out how to make
it move. Jo just might be of help there. Then again, they might not get a
chance to find out, as the marvelous mechanical man goes missing.

Jo and Alistair find themselves in the middle of a whirlwind of
kidnapping, catnapping, and cross-country chases that involve airships,
trains, and a prototype steam car. With a little help from their
friends, Herbert Lattimer and Winifred Bond, plots are foiled,
inventions are perfected, and a good time is had by all.


Amazon →

I was debating just what I should do next when I heard the sound of a key in the front lock. Hurrying back to the laboratory, I was just in time to see Alistair Conn step inside.

            “Professor Conn! Am I glad to see you.”

            He set the bundles he was carrying down on the counter.

            “What is it, Miss Mann?”

            “Your mechanical man...can it walk on its own?”

            He frowned, glancing quickly at the rear door and back.

            “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            I rolled my eyes.

            “We don’t have time for shilly-shallying. Yes, I know I didn’t have your leave to look in the back rooms, but I did. I saw the automaton, or statue, or whatever he was, but when I opened the door to the hallway this morning, the door to the storage room was ajar and the man was gone.”

            “Gone?” All the color fled his face, and he pushed me aside, practically running down the lab to the rear door. He threw it open and darted to the storage room. “! This is impossible! How could he be gone?”

            “That’s what I was asking you.”

            “He can’t move on his own, Miss Mann. He has no power source. He’s just a big metal doll without his heart—and that doesn’t work yet.” He wiped his hand across his lips then turned and ran back to the lab, searching furiously amid the items I had so carefully arranged—apparently to no avail—on the counter. “It’s gone!” he cried. “They got that, too? Oh, this is disastrous, indeed.”

            “Got what?” I asked, following him back to the lab, where he seemed determined to destroy all my neatening efforts of the day before.

            “The heart, Miss Mann, the heart! I showed it to you yesterday morning—it’s an oblong machine, about so big….” He held up his hands about six inches apart. “You asked me what it did.”

            I stepped over to the counter and opened the drawer beneath it. Rummaging in the back, I withdrew the silk-wrapped package I had placed within it the night before.

            “Is this what you’re looking for?”

            He practically snatched it from my hand.

            “Thank God! Oh, that was most clever, Miss Mann. Most clever.”

            I decided there was no need to tell the man it was only chance that had protected his precious...whatever it was. Let him think it had been foresight.

            “You say that’s the statue’s heart?”

            “Well, it will be, if it ever starts working. This little object will provide the power necessary to move the automaton’s limbs, to let him think. He will be a true mechanical man.”

            “But it doesn’t work.”

            He sighed.

            “Not yet.” He set the oblong down on the counter. “I’ve done everything I can think of, but I just can’t make it do anything.”

            I looked down at the funny little machine. I couldn’t tell him I had played with it and added things. He would never forgive me.

            Something looked odd about the assembly. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what, so I put my finger on the machine instead. There was a tiny lever half-hidden by the new gear assembly. It shifted under my fingertip, and suddenly, the heart began to beat.

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. A lot. Her short stories appear in
numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers
Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly Vols. 1 and 2. She has authored
twelve novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs.
These were mostly written in conjunction with Marc Gunn, and can be
found on “Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits” and “Pirates vs. Dragons” for
the most part–with a few scattered exceptions.

Her favorite work to date is The Conn-Mann Chronicles Steampunk
series with five books released so far: The Marvelous Mechanical Man,
The Nearly Notorious Nun, The Incredibly Irritating Irishman, The
Fiercely Formidable Fugitive, and The Elderly Earl’s Estate.

Rie lives in Texas with her wonderful husband and several spoiled cat-children.


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