Murder on the Titania begins in an extravagant airship making a voyage from New York to Denver. In this steampunk story collection Alex Acks introduces us to a collection of detailed characters who find themselves caught up in a variety of mysteries. As both a fan of mysteries and steam punk I adored Murder on the Titania and couldn’t put it down.
The first chapter introduces us to Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, who finds himself working to solve a murder mystery while also being charged with the protection of the Grand Duke of Denver’s jewels. This specific chapter shares the same title of the book and initially has the feel of a more traditional steampunk novel and mystery story. By the end of the mystery everything has completely changed when Captain Marta Ramos is revealed to him. The two cross paths again as Captain Ramos involves herself in the investigation of a number of crimes. Ramos is the most notorious pirate in the Duchy of Denver and while she goes into each story planning to focus on pirating something always seems to peak her interest. Each story is full of twists and turns and delightful surprises. From within her crew, Ramos’ most constant partner is Simms, an exceptionally tall man who wishes things would sometimes be a bit less interesting. Their partnership is delightful to read and has a Sherlock and Watson type of connection.
Murder on the Titania is a new take on steampunk and while many of the stories I’ve read within the genre focus on either women or men of high standing, Captain Ramos is a wanted criminal who exercises her intelligence by seeking out mysteries during her thefts. Based on her description in the stories Ramos is also a woman of color, which is exceptionally rare in steampunk works. Beyond that there are also moments between her and another female character, which are delightfully teasing and fun. Alex Acks creates engaging characters and an exceptional female protagonist within a steampunk inspired America. I would read more of the adventures of Captain Ramos and her crew any day.
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