Mars in 1816 is a world of high society, deadly danger, and strange clockwork machines. Pterodactyls glide through the sky, automatic servants hand out sandwiches at elegant garden parties, and in the north, the great dragon tombs hide marvels of Ancient Martian technology.
Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan has always dreamed of becoming a spy like the ones he reads of in his favorite sci-fi magazine, Thrilling Martian Tales. Instead, he spends his days keeping his eccentric family from complete disaster . . . that is, until the villainous archeologist, Sir Titus Dane, kidnaps Edward's parents as part of a scheme to loot an undiscovered dragon tomb. Edward sets out on a perilous journey to save his parents and protect the dragon tombs in the process. Turns out spywork is a bit more challenging than he had imagined. . . .
Twelve-year-old Edward Sullivan's eccentric family is driving him up the wall in Samphire's delightful fantasy debut, set on Mars in an alternate 1816. Edward's father is one of the greatest scientists of British Mars, responsible for adapting the technology taken from the ancient tombs of now-extinct Martian dragons. He's developed robot servants, self-propelled carriages, and a water abacus capable of solving scientific problems faster than any human. However, the man is completely oblivious to the outside world, including the social scheming of Edward's mother and the recklessness of Edward's nine-year-old sister, Parthenia. Edward decides that he must lay aside his plans of becoming a spy and adventurer he needs to protect his family from their own lack of survival instincts. Samphire's swashbuckling tale is both a pitch-perfect pastiche of a Victorian serial and a well-rounded, three-dimensional story of a boy learning that the world is more complicated than he thought. Abundant humor, intricate worldbuilding details, and precisely timed slapstick and mayhem mesh as neatly as the gears and levers of the water abacus, producing a gorgeously articulated clockwork of a novel. Ages 10 14. Author's agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House.