My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Michael Tierney’s sophomore effort brings us into the world of Victorian science … with a smattering of steampunk just for fun.
We first meet the protagonist, Nicodemus Boffin, as the poor kid with an interest in learning. His father is Noddy Boffin, a name you may recall from Charles Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. Indeed, it is through the offices of Mr. Dickens that young Nicodemus is eventually apprenticed to a bookbinder so that he may learn a trade.
While working at the bookbindery, Nicodemus reads anything he can get his hands on. He also has an opportunity to attend the so-called Ragged Schools and further his education. It is through all of this that he is next apprenticed as a young man to the titular professor Michael Faraday … and then, as the old saying goes, the adventure begins.
Peopled with characters from both history and classic literature, this novel takes readers along for the ride as Nicodemus grows up both personally and as a scientist. He’s determined to take up where his mentor, Faraday, leaves off on a secret project — and thus runs afoul of banditry, air pirates, and more.
I enjoyed the story for a variety of reasons. Nicodemus is a likeable character, first and foremost. Second, the book takes place in locations of which I have fond personal memories, particularly the lovely Scottish village of Tobermory.
Fans of steampunk tales will find much to love here.