Publisher : Fabled Lands LLP
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fashioned just one creature from the remnants of the dead, but the Governments
who have hijacked his discoveries see the advantage of resurrection on an
industrial scale. What better way to fight their never-ending wars than with
armies of obedient undead soldiers, recycled from earlier battles? And how
better to silence their own citizens who protest at ceaseless conflict and
Set in the 1830s,
Frankenstein’s Legions details an alternative history in which Frankensteinian
science is a reality, revived after patchy prohibition by a second and even
more fanatical French Revolution. The republican regime, inspired by zeal and
desperation, has swept over Europe, employing inexhaustible swarms of
zombie-like (or lazaran) troops. The remaining independent nations, including
England, are obliged to shed their scruples and likewise raise lazaran armies.
Across this crazed and
Gothic history stride Julius Frankenstein, soldier nephew of the notorious
scientist; Charles Babbage inventor of the Analytical Engine; and the
Honourable Augusta Ada, Countess of Lovelace, genius daughter of Lord Byron.
Pulling their strings – they believe – are the puppetmasters Talleyrand, French
statesman par excellence and now a
renegade in English employ; and Sir Percy Blakeney, sometime Scarlet Pimpernel
and current head of the British Secret Service.
Meanwhile, the French have
been unwise enough to revive their recently deceased Emperor. The intention was
simply to pick the brain of history’s foremost military mind. However, the
risen Napoleon is developing fresh ambitions of his own…
WARNING: CONTAINS ADULT
The Story Behind This Book
In 1830, Victor Frankenstein’s procedures for reanimating the dead have become widely known.
Europe is in the grip of a war that cannot end, as soldiers are dragged from the battlefield and reanimated to fight again another day. Neither side can gain ground. Every effort goes to maintain the engine of warfare.
In France, a new revolution has occurred more brutal than the last. The ruling council, fanatics of reason, authorize experiments in which men and beasts are stitched together, creating ever more terrible hybrids for the generals to use in battle. The Emperor Napoleon, brought from his grave on St Helena, has been restored to life. His body having partially decayed, he floats inside a glass tank filled with preservative oils brought from Egypt. The revolutionary council consider Napoleon a state asset, an oracle they can consult on how to conduct the war. Napoleon considers himself the rightful Emperor.
In Britain, hordes of resurrected war veterans flock to the cities. These are men who have been patched up and reanimated too often. Now they are of no use in battle but they cannot die, so they crawl and beg on the fringes of London’s slums. In places the stench of formaldehyde is overpowering. With the country’s economy weakened by war and disease, and the populace wary and fearful of the “lazarans” in their midst, the authorities maintain a strangling grip on control thanks to the British secret police headed by ruthless Lord Blakeney, the “Bloody Pimpernel”.
The Frankenstein technology is unreliable. Restoring life is easy. A man can be made to breathe and speak walk again. But very often it comes at a price – gaps in the memory and a dulling of the intellect, which most count as a blessing. To clearly remember the moment of death would be hard enough. To be considered by others to be a walking, soulless monster and yet to understand your condition and still to feel love for your living family would be too much to bear.
Some, like Napoleon, can be restored with their mind intact, but not usually with full vigor. Only a very few are raised from the dead healthy in both mind and body. These lucky accidents are studied by scientists looking to perfect the process, as each side seeks the breakthrough that will turn the war in their favor.
Praise and Reviews
PRAISE FOR JOHN WHITBOURN'S WRITING
“Whitbourn’s wit is both unforced and splendidly droll.” -The Daily Express
“Original and intriguing.” – Starburst
“He doesn’t cheat, and he doesn’t soften the edges.” – Mary Gentle
The Binscombe Tales
“These stories are not comfortable to read, but they still bring enjoyment of good company and the vicarious chill of a good fright at someone else’s expense, and as such are to be heartily recommended.” - Interzone
A Dangerous Energy
“A work of brilliance. Never was a prize more richly deserved.” – Starburst
“A terrifying story, marvellously inventive, written with great power.”
- The Times
The Royal Changeling
“The powerful, dark deviousness of Whitbourn’s world makes this novel most intriguing.” – Locus
“Gutsy, witty and time-twisting.” – The Daily Telegraph
“A great historical fantasy.” – The Bookseller
“A brisk-moving, exciting story, rich in humour and historical detail.” – SFX
“Witty, bawdy, action-packed and extremely clever.” – Waterstone’s SF magazine
“Pulled off with panache and no small amount of humour.” – The Daily Express
“If you’re looking for something entirely different from the run-of-the-mill, make this your first port of call.” – Ariel
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