NOMINATED FOR THE GEMMELL AWARDS - MORNINGSTAR - 2018!
NOMINATED FOR THE BSFA AWARDS 2017.
Bellina Ressa, daughter of the Lord Chancellor, has lived a sheltered life. Shunned by the rest of the nobility due to her Cognopathic abilities, she has become strong willed and independent. But in the blink of an eye, she finds herself betrothed to the arrogant Elvgren Lovitz and on a diplomatic mission to save the Estrian empire.
Joined on this perilous quest by her fiancé and the resolute Major Cirona Bouchard, Bellina is about to discover that intrigue lurks just beneath the surface and danger lies in wait around every corner.
One Cog Turning is a rip-roaring new Steampunk adventure, featuring a cast of foul-mouthed, irreverent and memorable oddballs.
One Cog Turning
Written by Anthony Laken.
The Infinity Machine Series.
Cover art and design by Jay Johnstone
344 Pages. 216 x 140 mm
Publication date 15/07/2017
e-Book ISBN: 9781911143239
5* "Anthony Laken brings a fresh voice to Steampunk by taking the reader away from nineteenth Century England in his debut novel from Luna Press Publishing. We find ourselves in Estria, a setting which is as much fantasy as it is Steampunk. The author weaves some intricate politics to really get the cogs turning (sorry, not sorry) in this notable debut. The excellent world building soon stylises an environment Steampunk fans expect, while leaving Queen Victoria well alone.
An arranged engagement for a woman who knows what she wants is never a good thing. Bellina is a motivated lead in this twisted maze of ambition. The plot is further tangled in an attack on the Estrian Empire. Antony takes the “Princess in Peril” trope and upends it, giving us the self-obsessed Elvgren as her Fiancé.
What stood out most the way the author brings the turn of the century extravagance and intrigue to life in a completely different environment. The reader isn’t forced to swallow every cog. There’s no over descriptive, tiresome Victorian waffle, (unless you allow for Elvgren fulfilling this role) or attempts to revisit British Empiresqueness.
Bellina was the stand out character for me, her character reflecting both the treatment she has received from her family and people around her as well as the influence her Cognopathic ability brings. She knows her mind, and isn’t afraid to use it against anyone- or thing, which gets in her way.
It’s also refreshing to find several complex female characters in main roles. The Major appears to be a by-the-numbers-secondary character to start, but, fortunately, we soon see there is more to Cirona.
One Cog Turning is a grand adventure and contains that vital ingredient: Splendiditity. It embraces the core idea of Steampunk; taking what we know and blending it with something new. By abandoning “Stick some cogs on it (and pray?)” the technology exists in world instead of being focal point of it. The author has excelled in ensuring things don’t get too ‘cogged’ down or ‘steamy’. The characters engage with the world and talents rather than exist to support it. The Cognopathic skill brings a nice twist to an already enjoyable world. The author’s passion for this genre is obvious because none of this detracts from the adventure Industrial Fantasy readers like to find in their reads.
The series promises to be outstanding and I look forward to finishing the series. In the smog of Steampunk twee, One Cog Turning is welcome trip to the coast. A splendid read indeed." By Shellie Horst – SFFWorld.com Jan 2018
5*: "I was rcommended to read this and glad I did.It is a great premise and the narrative rattles along.The characters are rounded and they are introduced in a far reaching landscape.There is light and dark,good plotting and humour.It ends on a good twist and I look forward to what must follow." By Dave Kenny, on Amazon.co.uk
5 *: "Laken has a fantastic imagination and has created a world full of politics, intrigue and magic. We start in powerful, sophisticated Estria, dominating the world through its trading prowess and stranglehold on technology. A surprise terrorist attack from primitive Burkesh alarms the Lord Chancellor, who sends his cognopathic daughter Bellina and her hapless betrothed on a dangerous mission to avert all out war. The mission soon unravels, leaving Bellina and a motley bunch of associates trapped in a highly dangerous world and pursued by the magical kaffars who have taken control of Burkesh.
A whirlwind pace, engaging characters, and complex plot make this a real page turner." By KathS on Amazon.co.uk
5 * "I really enjoyed this Steampunk adventure. Particularly the fact that the author did not just use the classic Victorian England setting, but went on to create a whole new world. Bellina, the main character, is a feisty princess with mind abilities. This particular skill is well used throughout the book, giving you the feeling that, although she is the heroine, you want to be on her good side. The core group of characters goes through a journey, encountering different people of the realm, nasty and wonderfully weird - oh and zombies! I would totally recommend it." By Trixter76 on Amazon.co.uk
5 *: "I purchased this book at the author’s book launch. Lady Bellina Ressa was a noble of Estrian, not only was she the Lord Chancellor’s daughter she was also a cognopath. A cognopath is so much more than a mind reader and the further you read her story, the more you are amazed with her abilities. To stop war breaking out, her father sends her on a secret mission, accompanying her are Lord Elvgren Lovitz a pompous idiot and Major Cirona Bouchard, a female officer who knows nothing but army life. The mission seems easy infiltrate the Burkeshis and find out what is going on. As the three main characters go, I loved Bellina, due to being a loner, she was still confident in herself. She had a fiery tongue and I enjoyed reading her one liners, which she used quite a lot to get help her in difficult situations. Elvgren was one of those poncey lords that pruned himself like a peacock, only looking after number 1 and was it wrong that I wanted the author to kill him off from the start of the book and finally Cirona, only knowing army life she came across as a bit of a robot, but the further you went into the story the more her human side comes out. Whilst the start of the adventure went a bit wrong, it gives the reader a chance to get to know the characters in depth. On the journey, you are introduced to other characters that bring out the best and the worse of the three. Two of favourite minor characters was Dargo a loving rogue and Torkwill when he was introduced showcased Bellina’s abilitiesI enjoy steampunk when it is set in another world as it gives the author free range to tell the story without the constraints of history and this story was one of them. Whilst the technology played a big part in the story, like our technology it does go wrong this gave the author to introduce us to exotic creatures and I imagined myself riding a big lizard across the desert. This story has adventure, fantasy, magic and even zombies make an appearance. This is a journey of discovery and as you follow the story you see how each of the characters change. The story flows smoothly and the tension is there when the journey gets difficult showcasing the rollercoaster of emotions that the characters have trying to complete their mission. The twist at the end left my mind reeling and hope I do not have to wait too long for book 2" By Yvonne on Amazon.com
5* "A political thriller for the modern day disguised as a steampunk adventure. It is a well paced story with the motley crew of heroes developing and growing as they escape from one catastrophe to land in another. There is enough supernatural goings on, surprises and twists to keep the reader turning the pages and I look forward to the next instalment from Anthony Laken. Congratulations on a well-written and absorbing debut novel." by Janet Scott on Amazon.UK
5* "I loved this book by Anthony Laken. If you like Steampunk this is a great book for you. Very descriptive characters that allow you to immerse yourself in the fantasy. I cannot wait for round two!" Amazon Customer on Amazon.co.uk
Anthony Laken has been creating fantasy worlds since he can remember. Writing has always been part of his life and he hopes it will remain that way. Anthony has had a few jobs: working in a now defunct video store, cutting up boxes at night, and teaching, but would love to turn writing into his full time profession. He lives in the grey twilight of South East London with his fiancé and son.
For Luna Press Publishing: "One Cog Turning".
NOMINATED for the BSFA AWARDS 2017.
NOMINATED for the GEMMELL AWARDS 2017 Morningstar Category.