It’s been called the greatest novel ever written. Now, Tolstoy’s timeless saga of love and betrayal is transported to an awesomer version of 19th-century Russia. It is a world humming with high-powered groznium engines: where debutantes dance the 3D waltz in midair, mechanical wolves charge into battle alongside brave young soldiers, and robots—miraculous, beloved robots!—are the faithful companions of everyone who’s anyone. Restless to forge her own destiny in this fantastic modern life, the bold noblewoman Anna and her enigmatic Android Karenina abandon a loveless marriage to seize passion with the daring, handsome Count Vronsky. But when their scandalous affair gets mixed up with dangerous futuristic villainy, the ensuing chaos threatens to rip apart their lives, their families, and—just maybe—all of planet Earth.
The next installment in Quirk's much-heralded sci-fi/classics mashup series, this steampunk take on Anna Karenina discards tsarist Russia for an alternate reality where a miracle metal, gronzium, has fueled the development of a thriving robot culture. Carriages and candlesticks persist, but everything is mechanized, including the servants: at the peak of the robot hierarchy are the near-sentient "Class IIIs," humanoid robots who aid and comfort their upper-class owners. These futuristic additions are more than background filler, though; Winters incorporates an entire action-packed sci-fi sub-plot, with terrorist attacks from a group of renegade scientists, an alien invasion, and the growing menace of a certain scorned cyborg husband. The sci-fi elements are carefully accomplished, sometimes brilliantly extrapolated from the original. The Class IIIs, for example, also act as telling externalizations of their masters: cold, duty-bound Karenin becomes half-robot and childish Kitty gets a pink, mechanized ballerina companion. Tolstoy's text is more than strong enough to stand up to this sort of treatment, its force attenuated just enough to allow Winters (Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) to integrate his additions a feat he manages with aplomb. Illustrations. (Jun.)