THE WOMEN OF NELL GWYNNE'S by Kage Baker, dust jacket and interior illustrations by J. K. Potter. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2009. 1st edition hardcover.
Length: 128 pages.
Lady Beatrice was the proper British daughter of a proper British soldier, until tragedy struck and sent her home to walk the streets of early-Victorian London. But Lady Beatrice is no ordinary whore, and is soon recruited to join an underground establishment known as Nell Gwynne’s. Nell Gwynne’s is far more than simply the finest and most exclusive brothel in Whitehall; it is in fact the sister organization to the Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, that 19th-century predecessor to a certain Company...and when a member of the Society goes missing on a peculiar assignment, it’s up to Lady Beatrice and her sister harlots to investigate.
Limited: 1500 hardcover copies signed by the author.
From Publishers Weekly:
"This steampunk novella, set in 1844 London, follows the exploits of the harlots of the exclusive establishment known as Nell Gwynne’s, where they gather intelligence for the shadowy Gentlemen’s Speculative Society, a predecessor to the Company featured in several of Baker’s novels…. The beautifully drawn Victorian era is neatly spiced up with futuristic technology such as mechanical eye implants. Baker’s fans will delight in this slight, bawdy and funny confection."
“A good time should be had by enough readers to prompt further Nell Gwynne’s capers from Baker.”
“Despite the fantastic elements and twists The Women of Nell Gwynne’s feels faithful to the Victorian Period. One of Kage Baker’s great strengths is her brilliance in presenting other time periods. As a writer, educator, and actress she lives and breathes history. She captures not just the little details and mannerisms of daily life but the deeply held attitudes of her characters whether from 1844, 1604, or the 24th Century. Subterranean’s Deluxe Hardcover Edition won’t be for everyone’s budget but if you get a chance pick up The Women of Nell Gwynne’s. It’s a witty steampunk thriller as if written by Ian Fleming’s crazy libertine aunt. I am hopeful we will see more of Lady Beatrice and her sisters in espionage.”
From SF Site:
“The steampunk nature of the story is revealed by the amusing devices available to the spies — very much James Bond in the 19th Century — including a covert set of eyes for supposedly blind Mrs. Corvey. The actual plot is a bit rudimentary, but enjoyably relayed, as Lady Beatrice and friends entertain Lord Basmond’s various guests, witness a murder, and unravel the curious facts behind Lord Basmond’s invention.”
“For fans of Baker’s Company series, The Women of Nell Gwynne’s offers a glimpse of what the Company developed out of, given that the GSS will ultimately morph into it. But you can easily be swept away by the novella without knowing the first thing about Baker’s other works… Mostly, this is because Baker spins a great yarn. I hope that The Women of Nell Gwynne’s is one of many short works about Lady Beatrice and crew to come.”
ISSUED IN A SIGNED/LIMITED hardcover edition of 1500 copies.
Fine in fine dj.