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The Kingdom Beyond the Waves (Jackelian World) Hardcover – July 21, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A delightful, thrill-packed adventure set in the world of 2008's Court of the Air, this charming steam-pulp yarn chronicles the journey of archeologist Amelia Harsh as she searches for the fabled kingdom of Camlantis. Bad-boy tycoon Abraham Quest finances the journey; does he merely want to test his new airships, or is something more devious going on? Amelia is joined by Commodore Black and his crew, who have escaped a horrifying underwater debtor's prison, as well as Amazon-like warrior Veryann, but even they may be no match for sabotage, fierce native attacks (spurred by the actions of the expedition's lunatic steamman guide, Ironshanks), furious thunder lizards and forced service to the insectile Daggish. Wildly imaginative and compelling, Amelia's journey plays out against a backdrop of civil war and failed rebellion, layered and complex treachery and love in surprising corners. (Aug.)
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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 'Studded with invention' Independent '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 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Jackelian World (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First U.S. Edition edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765320436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765320438
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,480,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Stephen Hunt is a fantasy, science fiction, crime and thriller author who lives in Spain and the UK. His current fantasy works are within the 'Far-called' series, published by Gollancz (the genre imprint of Orion/Hachette) . . . with adventures set on Pellas, a massive and fascinating planet where radio signals take centuries to be passed along a chain of guild stations, and merchant caravans can travel for millennia without retracing their steps.

The first two exciting novels in this series are 'In Dark Service' and 'Foul Tides Turning', and focus on the Carnehan family, whose lives are torn apart in a terrible slave raid on the town of Northhaven.

Hunt is arguably best known for his best-selling Jackelian series of novels from HarperCollins, also the publisher of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis in the UK, the success of the first of which, 'The Court of the Air', gave rise to a genre called steampunk.

The Jackelian world is a fantasy adventure set in a far-future Earth where the passage of time has erased almost all memory of our current world from history. Electricity is now unreliable and classed as a dark power, with many of the nations of the world existing at a Victorian level of development and relying on steam-power, mechanical nanotechnology and biotechnology to survive and prosper.

It is an age of strange creatures, flashing blades, steammen servants, airship battles and high adventure.

Each novel is written as a stand-alone work, but share the same world and many of the same characters who criss-cross between the novels (a technique shared with fellow British fantasy author Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series).

Foreign language and international editions of the six novels of the Jackelian series have been sold to Tor Books (USA), Albin Michel (France), Verlagsgruppe Random House (Germany), Enterbrain Manga and Anime (Japan), Edições Saída de Emergência (Portugal), Paidós (Spain), AST (Russia), and the Anhui Literature and Art Publishing House (China).

Stephen maintains his own web site over at and when he is not writing, he can be found indulging in such interests as cooking, gardening, collecting comic-books, and building his collections of genre novels.

He still sometimes writes for the magazine he helped to found,, the first science fiction web site.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Brian Driver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
All right, I admit it at the start...I'm a big fan. This is the second installment of Stephen Hunt's slam bam steampunk/adventure series, and now I can't wait for The Rise of the Iron Moon's American release.

The novels are character-driven adventures set in an imaginary world whose center is the nation of Jackals, a nation not unlike England. Because this is steampunk, Jackals is a coal-driven quasi-Charles Dickens era society of floating airships and gas lamps--a modern, but not too modern, society. The heroes are at once likeable and sympathetic, be they children with hidden bloodlines or strong men with anvils for hands or eccentric mechanical steammen or orphans with exoskeletons. Both novels are set in motion almost immediately--in the manner of an Indiana Jones movie--and what follows is a rich mixture of political intrigue, dark magic, and reprehensible rogues. There is almost no down time in either book--they propel themselves with the force of a steamroller until the final pages.

If there are any complaints leveled at Hunt's works, it's that he can be VERY ambitious. I thought that the climax of his first book, The Court of the Air was maybe too big, too spectacular. It had as many plot threads as a Tom Clancy novel, and when you marry that with a whole new planet of cultures, characters, and conflicts, it can and did get pretty hairy. But "The Kingdom Beyond the Waves" is much tighter, from start to finish. There is no shortage of action...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Noah Sutcliffe on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Court of the Air was a massive undertaking that established the Jackelian universe and all its idiosyncracies. A fantastic tale in its own right, a lot of that book was devoted to building a world where Hunt's innovative and offbeat characters and systems could properly function and be understood.

Not so with the The Kingdom Beyond the Waves. It jumps right into a tight-knit adventure story whose gears mesh perfectly with the beautiful world Hunt has created. From the Indiana Jones-esque prelude to the smart and well-situated conclusions for each character, Hunt has definitely found a new gear with this book.

Some of the characters will be familiar to readers of the Court of the Air, but no cheesy cameos exist here. Everything and everyone is here for a reason and the entire project is woven together beautifully using a unique set of rules. Hunt is really very good at creating an original, twisty plot that takes advantage of a different look, feel and rule set.

However, because the universe is so different, I definitely would recommend reading the Court of the Air prior to the KBTW. Not only is COTA a great book, but you need to understand this universe to really get the most out of KBTW.

It's very rare for me to laugh, cry and feel this much excitement from one book, but Stephen Hunt has done it for me again. Go for it, it's an extremely rewarding piece of fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa on August 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Professor Amelia Harsh has lost her tenure at the last university in Jackals that would hire her (after being fired by the other seven...). Why? Because instead of studying and writing papers like a normal university professor, she's out hunting relics of Camlantis, which everyone knows is a myth.

Enter Abraham Quest, the richest man in Jackals, who has been doing his own archaeology on the sly, and found proof that Camlantis exists. Unfortunately, the clues point the way into the heart of darkness itself, the source of the Shedarkshe river in the wilds of a jungle from which no explorer has returned. Camlantis was a utopia, with untold engineering feats, a society of pacifists, and Amelia and Abraham are convinced that it holds the key to making their own war-torn society a better place. But it means risking lives in order to see that goal realized.

Hunt spends the first half of the book setting up the story, and because there's a lot going on, several characters to introduce, and a world to build, the time it takes to do this isn't unreasonable. However, it does make the first half slow-going. His prose can be dense, which also slows down the pacing and flow, but does make for a richer world. I love Hunt's metaphors. He is truly clever with his descriptions, adding depth to the world at the same time.

Finally at about the halfway mark everything goes wrong for our protagonists. And not just wrong, I mean horribly, how in the heck are they going to get out of this without dying, wrong. It's a series of life-threatening events that lasts the entire second half of the book. Hunt spins threads between all the characters deftly, so that when everything begins to collide, the weaving stories makes sense despite the chaos. Awesomeness on many levels.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Swift 36 on June 21, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hunt does it again! You'll want read The Court of the Air first, since even though this is a stand-alone story, it makes numerous references to people, groups, and events in its predecessor. Well-paced and plotted, with interesting characters, esp. the villains. The reason I say "not meant for kids" is that while the marketing/covers make both books look geared to adolescents, trust me, this is not Ender's Lame, Harry Pooter, or other kiddie-trooper ilk. In particular, the violence can be quite graphic. Genre-wise, Hunt's clearly steampunk, but though his work falls a bit short of early-Mieville quality, it doesn't do so by much.
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