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Retribution Falls: Tales of the Ketty Jay Hardcover – June 18, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Short-listed for the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award "If Robert Louis Stevenson and Patrick O'Brian had teamed up to write a rollicking fantasy, Chris Wooding's Retribution Falls would be the result. Pirates, sky-ships, and golems are just the trappings for a far-flung adventure of stunning imagination and brilliant craftsmanship. I've already booked passage for the next flight of the Ketty Jay...long may she sail!"--James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Altar of Eden "Beautifully crafted prose and some remarkably imaginative scenes ...and Wooding's sprawling, multifaceted world and rough-and-tumble action will delight steampunk fans." -"Publisher's Weekly, starred review """Retribution Falls" picks you up, whisks you swiftly and entertainingly along, and sets you down with a big smile on your face." -Joe Abercrombie, author of "The Last Argument of Kings ""A fast exhilarating read . . . the kind of old fashioned adventure I di --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Chris Wooding is in his early thirties and has already signed his first Hollywood film deal and won several awards for his writing. He is the author of, amongst others, the Broken Sky series, which has sold over 200,000 copies in the US alone, and The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, which won the Silver Smarties award. He has travelled extensively, plays bass and guitar and has recorded several albums with various bands and toured in Europe. His books have been published all over the world and translated into 19 languages. He is currently working on two movies with a top Hollywood director.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (June 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575085142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575085145
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nick Brett VINE VOICE on September 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is great fun, fast moving and entertaining fantasy.

I would not suggest that this is anything overly fresh or new, but it is put together very well and as the book and the characters grow, the book sucks you in deeper and deeper.

Imagine a blend of the TV SF series "Firefly", a bit of Captain Jack and the Pirates from "Stardust". Here we have a crew of a kind of airship (the Ketty Jay) all of whom have their hidden secrets and background and are using the Kitty Jane as a bolt hole - a kind of marriage of convenience until something better comes along. A bit of smuggling and piracy, the crew step over the line a lot and live on the edge and hand to mouth. This changes when they are framed for the destruction of another ship carrying a VIP. Can the crew pull together to help clear their names before they are hunted down and killed?

This is not deep and thoughtful fantasy, it is pure escapist fun. Having said that, it is a far better written book then you imagine it will be. You come to the end with regret and a satisfied grin on your face and the hope that Wooding will write a follow up.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
My confession about this book is that I really didn't like it for about the first 100 pages. And I really wanted to like it because a friend had gone to a lot of trouble to send the book to me. He liked it, a lot. So what was wrong? I picked it up and put it down three different times. I didn't like the characters, not a single one of the motley crew of dysfunctional malcontents. My favorite characters so far were Bess the golem and Slag the cat. Not a ringing endorsement there. I didn't see much sense in where the story was headed, mainly because I didn't see WHERE the story was headed. It just seemed to ramble and wobble around, getting the crew in and out of one scrape after another. Then something happened. For me it was that the author made me interested in the captain of the aircraft, Darian Frey, and I began to wonder why he had been set up to take the blame for something he had not done. From then on, the action in this book simply flew. The mish-mash of disconnected characters began to come together into a cohesive unit to try to help each other out of the troubles they were constantly landing in. They began to seem like people who deserved to be liked, people who had to clear up this terrible wrong by whatever means was at their disposal.

I ended up absolutely loving this book. The crew went from one disaster after another and yet they were always focused on their final objective, which was to prove their innocence. With their awful luck, success was never a certainty. The author, Chris Wooding, created quite an unusual mixture in his fantasy world. The aircraft in the story, including Frey's Ketty Jay, were the most otherworldly things in the book while the pirates still fought with cutlass, knife, pistol, and shotgun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By George Ehrhardt on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
My first thought was: Firefly with airships. It has so many of the same elements--a freebooting ship on the shady edge between lawful civilization and the outer dark, a troubled captain and in lieu of a crew, a collection of disparate individuals, each with their own problematic histories, a powerful navy that's hunting them, pirates and gangsters, quasi-human barbarians on the fringes, but perhaps most importantly, it has the same grungy frontier SF feel.

This is both good and bad. If you're looking for something new and original, this may not be the book for you. It does have some creative ideas--his vision of airships are more like an armored Osprey VTOL aircraft, not the standard zepplin image. That adds some new wrinkles I enjoyed, such as airship navigation/combat in 3D. Overall, though, readers who've seen Firefly won't be too surprised by any of the plot twists. On the other hand, Firefly inspires such fierce loyalty from its fans for good reason, and Wooding manages to duplicate those good features.

Like Wheldon's TV series, Wooding fills the book with vivid characters. The first several pages, as the captain shrugs while a loan shark threatens to kill one of his crew if he doesn't surrender Ketty Jay's access codes, are a brilliant characterization. Each of the crew members is interesting in his/her own way, and gets fleshed out and developed as the story goes on. Wooding puts the characters through action-filled adventures and suspenseful dangers, just like he should.

He does add a generous dollop of Steampunk flavor to the Firefly recipe. One of the crew uses magic (watch for the flying demon cutlass).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Mad Hatter VINE VOICE on April 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Retribution Falls has been called everything from a Steampunk Firefly to Jack Sparrow in a sky ship, both of which just ooze thoughts of wild adventure. I can now say unequivocally that Retribution Falls deserves every good word said and many more. Retribution Falls starts on a compelling high note and never lets up. It'll have you holding your breath in anticipation dozens of times. Retribution Falls has already been recently named for the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist of just 6 titles.

Retribution Falls is a hard book to classify. It has classic elements of Fantasy, but with Sci-Fi tech akin to Steampunk yet I hesitate to put it in that camp as it is much more advanced. Retribution Falls is much more than a Firefly riff as it is like an entire season without one lull compressed into less than 375 pages of complete and utter bliss. I do wonder if it would exist without the influence of Joss Whedon, but either way Wooding does an incredible job of creating a group of the most compelling characters I've found in sometime and he makes you care about nearly each and everyone of them right down to the sleep asphyxiating cat.

Darian Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, who is quite the sordid ne'er-do-well to the nth degree. Frey's only cares are that he own the Ketty Jay and that no other may posses or even pilot her. His crew has been a revolving door for years, where few of stayed or lived long enough to decide if they want to stay. The ship's doctor is a drunk. The mechanic a virtual mute. The Ketty Jay also has two out-fliers, which are smaller aircraft that provide support, reconnaissance, and much needed gun power on their run, but they are piloted by a very loathsome young man and another who is so war-beaten he can't part with his ship.
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