The Kingdom Beyond the Waves

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9780007232215: The Kingdom Beyond the Waves

From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue – perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke

Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilisation of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease – tempering the race of man’s baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research.

Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father’s bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli.

Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along the huge river of the Shedarkshe on his ancient u-boat. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest’s force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia’s luck can hardly get any worse. But she's as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction…

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Review:

‘A ripping yarn … the story pounds along … constant inventiveness keeps the reader hooked … the finale is a cracking succession of cliffhangers and surprise comebacks. Great fun’ SFX

‘More than a dash of Jules Verne … an entertaining and imaginative journey into the unknown’ DeathRay

‘To say this book is action packed is almost and understatement … a wonderful escapist yarn… Definitely a book to take with you on a long flight’ Interzone

Praise for The Court of the Air:

‘An inventive, ambitious work, full of wonders and marvels’ Lisa Tuttle, The Times

‘The characters are convincing and colourful, but the real achievement is the setting, a hellish take on Victorian London … the depth and complexity of Hunt’s vision makes it compulsive reading for all ages’ Guardian

‘Wonderfully assured … Hunt knows what his audience like and gives it to them with a sardonic wit and carefully developed tension’ Time Out

‘Rich and colourful … keeps you engrossed … a confident, audacious novel’ SFX

‘Like a magpie, Stephen Hunt has plucked colourful events from history and politics and used them for inspiration … Hunts tells his full-blooded tale with lip-smacking relish, revealing a vivid, often gruesome imagination … ‘The Court of the Air’ brims with originality and, from the first, its chase-filled plot never lets up’ Starburst

‘The best book of 2007 … Think Joan Aiken for grown-ups, with echoes of Susanna Clarke … hugely enjoyable’ Historical Novels Review

From the Publisher:

The Kingdom Beyond the Waves has elements of Jules Verne, Arthur Conan Doyle and Rider Haggard intermingled with the Jackelian world of The Court of the Air. Have you always been a fan of classic adventure stories?

I have, although for me the definition of the true classics would have to be widened to include much of space opera, science fiction and fantasy pulp and the 1970s new wave as much as the slightly more stuffy 1930s Homesian and Lost World genre. Michael Moorcock, more than Rider Haggard, perhaps.

Is there anything that grips your imagination now that you think you might like to go on an adventure and discover for yourself?

I think my fantasy novels are about as close as I would like to get to any of the dangerous situations I regularly toss my characters into. Trying to find lost cities while avoiding dinosaurs and cannibal steammen I am quite happy to leave to those with serious firearm training and their own torpedo-carrying u-boat.

In real life I’m a bumbling absent-minded professor-like klutz, so I would probably only feature in my literary adventures as a comic fill-in who always puts everyone else in danger by accidently stumbling into a seventy-foot tarantula nest. I’m also a homebody, far happier with my feet up in front of the fire grate reading a copy of the Sunday newspapers, than exploring dangerous distant realms. I don’t even do camping anymore! My idea of the perils of the quest these days is a dodgy two-star hotel.

Perhaps I could make a good, traditionally minded hobbit, who refuses to go out beyond my garden, unless there’s the promise of a hearty roast lunch at the neighbours mound opposite?

Who would you assemble from the canon of great explorers of the past whether living or fictional in your pursuit for your lost antiquities?

Well, they’d have to be good – or lucky – to keep me alive, so I could only choose from the very best. I would need Robur and Captain Nemo on technical support and gadget provision, Professor Challenger heading the expedition, and for muscle, I’d need Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Tom Strong, Michael Kane of Old Mars, Jerry Cornelius, and Oswald Bastable (the latter is from Moorcock’s Nomad of the Time Streams). I would also pack the expedition with lots of evil henchmen and a traitorous academic, to ensure they got added to the lunch menu by those giant spiders before I did.

Have you ever been tempted to bring your mixture of technologies and worldsinging fantastical arts into a more futuristic world?

Well, there’s certainly a space opera or two lurking within me. I love reading Iain Banks culture books and Alastair Reynolds’ works, and I definitely think I could create some novels in the ‘grand sweeping cosmic-strings as dreadnought ordinance’-style.

I don’t think I’d like to press the fast-forward button on the Jackelian world to get there, though. Novels like The Kingdom Beyond the Waves are too rooted in a Napoleonic/Victorian-level culture. It’d be like trying to re-imagine Middle Earth in the 27th century. You’d end up with mutant offspring like Warhammer 40K.

Part of the fun of writing an entirely new series is coming up with a new world to keep your brain cells fresh, though, so I wouldn’t imagine it would be too much of a problem to push out into that territory.

In The Court of the Air, we’re left at the end of the novel with Middlesteel in the throes of revolution, what was the thinking between the two stories that made you decide to take up a separate story with Amelia Harsh?

I wanted each novel to be a stand-alone, discrete work in its own right. The Court of the Air is one tale, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves is another, albeit set in the same world with some of the same characters. Writing them that way helped assuage my worries that I might be tempted to meander into an identikit fantasy series where you have to have read book twenty in the series for book two to make any kind of sense at all.

You just end up straying into soap opera territory when you do that, and writing with many of the exact same literary tricks the soap scriptwriters use to keep their audience vaguely engaged on the tediously long journey. ‘Aha, you thought I died in book seven, but actually, I married an elf and she used her Ring of Resurrection to bring me back to life in book seventeen, then I divorced her and married your mother... so yes, I am now your father (and you may kiss my ring).’

What were some of the moments about creating the world of The Kingdom Beyond the Waves that brought you the most satisfaction (without giving too much away!)?

The floating city of Camlantis was a lot of fun, as was the journey into the dark ruin-strewn jungles of Liongeli. Much of the world’s backdrop had already been established in the The Court of the Air, though, so I could just get stuck straight into the story, which was rather nice on a great many levels.

After the first novel, what was the fan mail like and what was one of the best items?

The fan mail seems to be largely electronic these days, either via e-mail, or as profile comments on social networking services like Hivemind and Facebook. It’s usually tended to be of a fairly general nature along the lines of ‘wow, I really loved the book, when’s the next one coming out?’

It’s always nice when you get other budding authors asking you questions about the whats and wherefores of the authoring business – and that happens a lot. You kind of feel like Obi Wan lecturing Luke on lightsabre etiquette (although a little less worthy: the force is not always so strong within me).

What was the hardest moment writing Kingdom Beyond the Waves, how was that compared to the last novel?

To be honest, there really wasn’t one. Whenever I hit a roadblock, I just turn my imagination loose on it and blast it away. Perhaps I should be suffering for my art more, so I could feel lot a ‘proper’ author. I could take a small flat in Paris, wear black roll-necks, get off of my gourd on the green fairy, climb up my own a-hole and talk a lot more about how the tenuous perception of reality should act as the bridge between the writer and reader.

If anything, the Kingdom Beyond the Waves was an easier novel to write, because the concept and the world and the society had already been proved in The Court of the Air. The core of the second novel for me was a fairly interesting philosophical question, though... how much money and power do you need to change the world for the better? And what’s ‘better’ anyway? It’s always easy to write an exciting page-turner when you have a deeper central theme to wrap everything around.

Your next novel, The Rise of the Iron Moon will be coming out in twelve months, can you give us any details, or is it still firmly under wraps?

The Rise of the Iron Moon details the invasion of the Kingdom of Jackals from the north by a force that everyone believes are merely a horde of particularly successful polar barbarians. They soon learn, to their everlasting regret, that the invaders aren’t large hairy axe-wielding raiders, however.

It features the return of the complete gang from The Court of the Air, including Molly, Oliver, Commodore Black and Coppertracks, and yes, it was a joy to write this one too!

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue -- perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilisation of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease -- tempering the race of man s baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research. Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father s bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli. Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along the huge river of the Shedarkshe on his ancient u-boat. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest s force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia s luck can hardly get any worse. But she s as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction!. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007232215

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue -- perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilisation of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease -- tempering the race of man s baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research. Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father s bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli. Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along the huge river of the Shedarkshe on his ancient u-boat. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest s force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia s luck can hardly get any worse. But she s as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction!. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007232215

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Kingdom Beyond the Waves, Stephen Hunt, From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue -- perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke Professor Amelia Harsh is obsessed with finding the lost civilisation of Camlantis, a legendary city from pre-history that is said to have conquered hunger, war and disease -- tempering the race of man's baser instincts by the creation of the perfect pacifist society. It is an obsession that is to cost her dearly. She returns home to Jackals from her latest archaeological misadventure to discover that the university council has finally stripped her of her position in retaliation for her heretical research. Without official funding, Amelia has no choice but to accept the offer of patronage from the man she blames for her father's bankruptcy and suicide, the fiercely intelligent and incredibly wealthy Abraham Quest. He has an ancient crystal-book that suggests the Camlantean ruins are buried under one of the sea-like lakes that dot the murderous jungles of Liongeli. Amelia undertakes an expedition deep into the dark heart of the jungle, blackmailing her old friend Commodore Black into ferrying her along the huge river of the Shedarkshe on his ancient u-boat. With an untrustworthy crew of freed convicts, Quest's force of female mercenaries on board and a lunatic steamman safari hunter acting as their guide, Amelia's luck can hardly get any worse. But she's as yet unaware that her quest for the perfect society is about to bring her own world to the brink of destruction!. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007232215

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Book Description Harper Voyager, 2008. Book Condition: New. From the author of The Court of the Air comes a hugely engaging, Victorian-style adventure, filled with perilous quests, dastardly deeds and deadly intrigue -- perfect for all fans of Philip Pullman and Susanna Clarke Num Pages: 560 pages. BIC Classification: FM. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 131 x 36. Weight in Grams: 366. 2008. paperback / softback. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # 9780007232215

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