Steam City Pirates

Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Thrillers

By Jim Musgrave

Publisher : English Majors, Publishers and Editors, LLC

ABOUT Jim Musgrave

Jim Musgrave
James Musgrave (a.k.a. Efraim Zimbalist Graves) is an author and college educator in San Diego, California. His recent non-fiction title, The Digital Scribe: a Writer's Guide to Electronic Media (AP Professional, ISBN 0-12-512255-1) has been internationally published. He has a M.A. degree  More...


Like Alice’s rabbit, a strange “mechanical-like man” leads 1869 New York Detective Pat O’Malley down into the world of steam power. A group from the future calling itself the World Scientific Advancement Society for Progress is living secretly beneath Central Park. These pirates are inventors whose only goal is to keep the Earth in the Steam Age in order to save it from a future nuclear holocaust. Five alien assassins from other universes are ordered to kill O’Malley and his group, and each alien has a unique ability to do the job. As the Steam City Pirates build a steam-powered amusement park on Coney Island, O’Malley and his group are hunted down in the streets of New York City. The future of the world is at stake in this mystery and adventure featuring a twisting plot, steampunk time travel, steam men duels, crafty inventions, and monsters from other planets.

Steam City Pirates is a novel for steampunk fans. If any other readers wish to hop aboard, then so be it, but I wrote it for the psyche of the people who adore to revel in the world of genteel drama and science fiction. They enjoy this activity so much, in fact, that an entire cottage industry has sprouted up across America. Am I becoming a whore to this new phenomena? Yes, indeed I am! What attracted me to this world was its understanding that the “outside” world should play by the rules of the Victorian Era. People must behave as if all things were possible and that the coming generations of industrialized “progress and greed” were a mistake. This is the world I attempted to create in Steam City Pirates. These pirate inventors are not evil because they want to keep America frozen in the “Steam Power Era.” They are perhaps “acting out” in evil ways, as O’Malley discovers right away, but he is pulled down into their world to be seduced by their leader, a steam-powered “computer man” from way in the future (2344 to be exact), who says his main goal is to prevent a future nuclear holocaust, which, he says, has already occurred! The only hope of Earth is to keep the technology in the steam age and to prevent any technology which remotely resembles computers to develop. Is there an absurd irony here? Oh, yes! Master Inquisitor Abraham Toky Manette, our Steam City Pirates leader, is a human computer—you did hear that—and O’Malley heard that.

Rating: 5.0 stars 

Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite 

Detective Patrick O'Malley is our hero in this mind-bending fantasy. O'Malley is pitted against steam-engineered pirates who aim to raid cargo ships and destroy lives. O'Malley also looks for love in the arms of the brilliant and fair-haired Becky Charming. Jim Musgrave in Steam City Pirates captures events in late 19th century New York City with a horrifying yet comic vision of science gone awry. 

The story begins as Spanish inventor Monturiol wants to engineer a steam-powered submarine. His ultimate goal is to create a peaceful, undersea paradise. But Monturiol is corrupted and he becomes part of a diabolical network that has headquarters above and below ground. The Grand Inquisitor from this group is a fearsome 8-foot-tall, red-eyed, mechanistic creature. The Inquisitor collects inventors to pursue his dark goals and Monturiol is his latest find. Characters in this strange time and place may have a supernatural power or appearance. They may breathe and release steam, fly out of windows and disappear, wield knives at lightning speed, or travel through time. O'Malley also has a few tricks up his sleeve but he may need help to hold the dark forces back. 

Detective O'Malley struggles with bizarre creatures, haunting visions, and bawdy situations. Steam City Pirates by Jim Musgrave is dazzling with action and thoughtful with scholarly information. I think this book would make a good movie with all its visual elements. I was impressed with the sophistication of Jim Musgrave's writing style and his extensive vocabulary. I enjoyed all the shocking twists and turns with O'Malley on the case. 

"Steam City Pirates is a nontraditional adventure narrative with rich characters that are very true to their time period and environment. It is also a philosophical exploration of society and religion, an odd combination, but one that makes up the strength of this novel." Review by Fantasy author Margaret McGaffey Fisk 

"So....a good book, a nice easy read, and a good few twists and turns I didn't expect. However, do yourself a favour, and start at the start (original idea eh?). I'm definitely going to pick up the previous books to get the full impact of this book..albeit a bit late!" Review by Bookeygirl