Dave Freer has written a creative fantasy world readers will enjoy. I found the first of "The Steam Mole" to be a little slow, but the second half I found exciting, and more face paced. The alternate world of Australia is unique, and the characters are clever and appealing. Freer used many characters to tell the story, and I enjoyed reading the story from each characters' point of view. Some of the mechanical explanations were a bit too much for me, but someone who enjoys mechanics and gadgets will surly find these details interesting. Overall, "The Steam Mole" is an imaginative tale of conquering injustice, and believing in oneself. I would recommend "The Steam Mole" to any young adult looking for something different and original.
Wanting to save her father, a rebel in a British prison, Clara Calland braves the Westralian desert to find the only person she can trust, Tim Barnabas. Finding him proves more difficult than Clara imagined, and when she finally does, they still have to get to Queensland to save her father. Crossing the desert is dangerous, and becomes even more so, when Clara and Tim realize the British are going to secretly attack Westralia. Now Clara and Tim must do whatever they can to save their adopted country and everyone they hold dear.
Steampunk adventure with an environmental point
Tim Barnabas is a submariner from the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine. Clara Calland is the daughter of a scientist who carries a secret formula that threatens British Imperial power. After a daring chase across the globe, they have brought the secret to Westralia. Here, much of Australia is simply too hot to be habitable by day. People are nocturnal, living underground and working outside at night. To cross the deserts they use burrowing machines known as "steam moles." With the Cuttlefish out of action, her crew take jobs on these submarine-like craft.
Duke Malcolm, of the Imperial Security Service, transports Clara's rebel father to a prison in Eastern Australia, hoping to bait her into attempting a rescue. Clara looks to Tim for help, only to find he has fled from a racist incident into the desert. She takes a steam mole in search of him. The two head to Eastern Australia, where they discover an invading force with plans to take Westralia. Forced to survive in the desert, they encounter the intolerance meted out to the aboriginal people. Can they save Westralia from falling
under British rule? And should they?