Review: City of the Saints by D. J. Butler


1859; war looms over the United States. Intelligence agents converge on the Kingdom of Deseret in the Rocky Mountains. Sam Clemens, leading the U.S. Army’s expedition aboard his amphibious steam-truck the Jim Smiley, has a mission: to ensure that the Kingdom, with its air-ships and rumored phlogiston guns, brain children of the Madman Orson Pratt, enters on the side of the United States and peace. He races against Captain Richard Burton for Her Britannic Majesty Queen Victoria, and Edgar Allan Poe, secret agent of the clandestine southern leadership, who travels in disguise as an exhibitor of Egyptian antiquities. Against them all are arrayed the counterintelligence agents of the Kingdom, Roxie Snow and the Deseret Marshal Orrin Porter Rockwell. But why are Deseret’s Danite militiamen hunting Rockwell? And why does the Madman seem to be playing his own game?

My Review:

City of the Saints is the only Mormon Steampunk series I’ve ever heard of. It’s four e-books, or one giant paperback omnibus. The characters are fun and compelling. The plot is an intricate pretzel of politics. Best of all, it’s crammed from beginning to end with neo-Victorian machines, which I love. A true Steampunk tale, it has both fantasy and retro-sci-fi in an inextricable braid. I highly recommend it to anybody who is willing to mix whimsy with Utah history and many new shades of color to beloved historical figures. If you can handle Eliza R. Snow as an assassin, then you will not be able to tear yourself away from this incredible, “scientific romance.”

As a side note, Dave Butler is one of my favorite people in the literary world. He’s part of the Space Balrogs crew, and I get endless interest and laughter from every conversation. This book, along with his other works, was recently picked up by Wordfire Press. Soon, the first edition covers will be collector’s items. Trust me, you’ll wish you got in on it early!

Get the Paperback Ominibus
or get E-book #1: Liahona.

Check out Dave’s Website, too.


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