Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pax Britannia: Unnatural History by Jonathan Green (2007)

Cover blurb

Action and adventure in a new Age of Steam!

In two scant months the nation, and all her colonies, will celebrate 160 years of Queen Victoria’s glorious reign. But all is not well at the heart of the empire.

It begins with a break-in at the Natural History Museum. A night watchman is murdered. An eminent Professor of Evolutionary Biology goes missing. Then a catastrophic Overground rail-crash unleashed the dinosaurs of London Zoo. But how are all these events connected? Is it really the work of crazed revolutionaries? Or are there yet more sinister forces at work?

Enter Ulysses Quicksilver – dandy, rogue and agent of the throne. It is up to this dashing solider of fortune to solve the mystery and uncover the truth before London degenerates into primitive madness and a villainous mastermind brings about the unthinkable. The downfall of the British empire!

Pax Britannia is an exciting new science fiction series, set on an alternative Earth where the British Empire still reigns.

My thoughts


In a steampunk world where the British Empire never fell, government agent Ulysses Quicksilver sets out to investigate the disappearance of the evolutionary biologist Professor Galapagos. (*groan*) His investigation leads him to the London Zoo and its menagerie of living dinosaurs, as well as a terrorist organization called the Darwinian Dawn, which plans to literally make monkeys out of Londoners.

I don’t have much to say about Unnatural History because, for starters, it reads like bad fan fiction. The writing is clunky and amateurish, with villains delivering lines like “So, Ulysses Quicksilver, we meet again.” The characters are uninteresting and the world doesn’t make a lot of sense if you put much thought into it. (160 years and humanity hasn’t progressed beyond steam power?) The dinosaurs here have only a small cameo, providing the most entertaining scene in the novel when they go rampaging through the streets of London. Still, it’s not enough to justify reading this literary coprolite.

  • Unnatural History is the first in a shared world of steampunk novels by various authors. Green wrote a follow-up to the book titled Evolution Expects.
  • As of the time I write this, Unnatural History is available as a free download on and other websites. It may cost you no money, but you will lose valuable hours of your life you will never get back.

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