Eric Kregel has succeeded in writing a rivoting book that combines historical fiction with science fiction. The characters are well developed. The story is set in a rural part of Canada in the late 1800's near a small town that is expected to become a major city. The story centers on a big house in the woods which houses an inventor and his school of inventors, working on projects that are futuristic even for the 21st century. The principal characters have come to study under the inventor, most of them orphans from Europe. They are all facinated by inventions made out of steam. The school itself if fascinating; however, it is soon discovered that the woods around the school are not a safe place and the inhabitants will have to defend themselves from the lurking evil of another inventor. I enjoyed the book and the development of the main character, who comes as a student and struggles with the contemporary religion in Europe compared to the world he has come to be a part of.. The book has a good combination of philosophy, history, mystery, romance, morality and religious thought.. One recommendation I have is to read the definitions of vocabulary before reading the book; I did not and some of the vocabulary was much clearer to me after reading the definitions. I am looking forward to reading more titles by Eric.