Thursday, August 18, 2016


In 1776, the American rebels were thwarted by British magic. The leaders were executed, but the surviving soldiers went into hiding and kept the revolution alive. By 1984 they have developed better weapons and machinery to even the odds. Now all these "technomancers" need is an army for their arsenal, and their newest recruit is 15 year-old Calvin Adler of Baltimore. The problem is, he’s got a pretty strong will, and might give the technomancers at bit of trouble in training...
Calvin learns that the technomancers aren't all good guys like he'd thought, and soon runs afoul of the worst of them. Now, with a bomb in his chest and a lot of ground to cover, he has a little over a week to save his life, or else become another casualty in the revolution. Meanwhile, an old enemy comes back stronger than ever, with ambition to spare...

Calvin is on the brink of death. The army is scattered, the commodore is dead, and the British mages know about the technomancers' secret weapon. Just as all hope seems lost, Calvin and his friends find out the mages have a weakness, one that could end the war overnight and liberate the colonials.
But it will take a miracle to reach it...

Graham Bradley is a truck driver by trade, but has been writing since age eight, thanks to the encouragement of a childhood teacher, Mrs. Peplowski.

Likewise, his grandmother made him promise to "do something" with his knack for drawing, so he illustrates as well.

He is fluent in Spanish, and knows the proper method of ironing a dress shirt. Despite spending less than 6 hours of his entire life in Indianapolis, the Colts are his team.

He lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife and sons.

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With trepidation I agreed to read Rebel Heart. I normally do not read steampunk or stories that smack of magic or fantasy. However, even the forward pulled me in by revealing the author’s quirky sense of humor that appeals to me.

The first few chapters did not feel comfortable to me. For one thing, those poor Brits. For the past many decades they have been among the strongest allies of the United States, but they are the bad guys in this alternate universe set in 1984. Unfortunately, the alternate history calls for the American hero, George Washington, of 200 years earlier being defeated not so much by the British enemies, but by dissension within. Then again, for this story, the position of mages and mancers seem to be part of an allegory involving a system of nobility dominating the peasantry. The alternate universe begs the question, “What if the rebels had not won the Revolutionary War?”

I thoroughly enjoyed the author's illustrations generously scattered throughout the book. It helped me picture the myriad of characters and keep the alliances straight. They also helped me picture this universe with its blending of old, new and fantasy. The writing style was clean and enjoyable. I found the slang words probably more typical of the British added benefit to the book. The characters were well-written. The interpersonal relationships of the rebels as they train to become technomancers using science and technology instead of magic were complex, but it was easy to follow them, especially with the illustrations.

About halfway into the book I was totally hooked. Although this story came to a good conclusion, there are a few loose ends I hope will be tied up in the next two books in the series—namely, how do things turn out with the mage, Godfrey, and the technomancer trainer’s daughter, Amelia? 

I will be reading the other two books in the series. If you like good adventure stories, dystopian-type books, or steampunk, I suspect you will love this series.

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1 comment:

  1. I have read this author and enjoyed his work very much. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.