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The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum

Comments from Reviews

This tale of two monsters, at once romantic and action-packed, is fun and thought-provoking, giving readers everything they want.

Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

Throughout their sensationalistic escapades Ward references the works of HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, MR James, and other forefathers of SFFH with wholehearted enthusiasm, yet still manages to update their stodginess with breathtakingly matter-of-course feminism and homophilia. Which is to say this is nostalgia for forward-looking readers. A neat trick. Also a fun one.

Nisi Shawl, The Seattle Review of Books

All that is well and good, but where Ward’s work shines is in the development of the relationship between Lucy and Clarimal (better known as the vampire Carmilla). There’s the question of whether a love can be immoral when two people deeply care about each other. There’s also a sense of the tension between the old world and the new, as old superstitions and rites lose their efficacy and science becomes more predominant.

Matthew X. Gomez, Broadswords and Blasters

The style is clear and readable. The tone is a mixture of a serious account of characters in desperate situations, and a tongue-in-cheek romp through well-known literary themes. At times it seems like too much of a good thing, as the reader is distracted from the story while trying to keep track of all the allusions to history and fiction. All in all, this mixture of steampunk and gothic horror is enjoyable entertainment.

Victoria Silverwolf, Tangent

The evil villain/lair plot at the end is very well constructed and quick, yet described enough, that it’s easy to pretend you are watching a fantastically B movie in a theater instead of reading one in a book. Every moment is in full technicolor, from the Martian ray guns to the clunky mind control bonnets….To discuss much else would give away key pulpy plot points so we will leave with noting that Cynthia Ward’s pulp sci fi series remains a fun favorite. To save yourself from the flesh-eating werewolves and terrifying dinosaurs, or maybe find yourself a lesbian vampire lover, purchase THE ADVENTURE OF THE DUX BELLORUM

J.S. Fields, Author and Scientist

Drama, action and heartbreak unfold on their way and things really begin to break loose after arriving in Germany. Vampires, wolfmen, pterodactyls and a mad scientist... oh, my! Can our heroine survive and save Winston Churchill, the missing girls and the woman she loves?

I really enjoy how this novella played out; it ups the game on Cynthia Ward's first novella in this series. Though they do have an ending to each story, they still remind me of the days of watching serial films with cliffhangers, so stay tuned for the next installment. I look forward to the next exciting adventure!

Dee Astell, The Nameless Zine

I’m really enjoying this series, not the least because of all the material from texts that form the basis of science fiction and fantasy, and other genres from the adventure fiction of the Victorian era to the classic mystery. References to characters, milieus and events from authors as diverse as H. G. Wells, Bram Stoker, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Agatha Christie are found here, intermixed with historical characters such as Sophia and Catherine Duleep Singh.

Definitely a series that I hope will continue.

bibiogramma, My Life in Books

[T]he book takes all the elements of the first installment and builds on it. The action is more visceral, the cast larger, the stakes much higher. There are sapient dinosaurs, vampire vs. wolfman fights, and a particularly evil German scientist who just won’t seem to die. Plus there are moments where the characters must confront their missions and the legacies of their nations. It’s a fast-paced, daring adventure that is all kinds of Extra, and it’s a wonderful read. Definitely check this one out!

Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews

[A] gleeful mashup of historical and fictional characters...all good fun, not without more serious rumination on issues like colonialism and women’s suffrage.

Rich Horton, Locus Magazine, April 2019

(Joint Review) Both of these novellas are highly recommended to readers who enjoy alt-history, especially of the paranormal vein. And for fans of f/f romance, you cannot go wrong here either.

Pyles of Books