The Adventure Begins!
A novel of old-fashioned adventure by acclaimed fantasy author (and Misenchanted Press owner) Lawrence Watt-Evans.
"...a nigh-perfect recapturing of the spirit of pulp and, really, pre-pulp adventure fiction."
(Read complete review here.)
When he was eight years old, Tom Derringer discovered his father's journal and learned that the late Jack Derringer was a professional adventurer. For the next eight years Tom studied and trained to follow in his father's footsteps. Then in 1882, when a mysterious flying object appeared in the Arizona sky, Tom set out after it -- and he and his plucky companion Betsy Vanderhart found themselves pursuing a would-be conqueror through the skies and jungles of Mexico...
The series so far:
- Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship
- Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror
- Tom Derringer and the Steam-Powered Saurians
Planned further volumes:
- Tom Derringer and the Electrical Empire
- Tom Derringer and the Floating Fortress
- Tom Derringer and the Misplaced Metropolis
Chapter One: I Discover My Heritage
I was eight years old when I found my father's journals. They were neatly arranged on a shelf above the harmonium, not concealed in any way, but I had not troubled myself to explore that particular collection until one rainy day in 1874, when I tired of my customary amusements and clambered atop the polished wooden top of the instrument to see just what lay within those brown leatherette bindings.
I did not immediately recognize my father's handwriting; he had been dead for some four years at that time, so I had not had much occasion to encounter it. I did see immediately that these were hand-written works, rather than printed books, but it took me considerably longer to grasp that they were not fiction, or that my late parent was the author.
Eventually, though, after glancing at first one volume and then another, and flipping through pages as my whimsy took me, I decided to start at the beginning, and there, upon the first page of the first volume, I found the inscription, My Journal, by John Thomas Derringer, Age Twelve, and the date, the third day of March, in the Year of Our Lord 1854.
Needless to say, that captured my attention, and I began reading.
I cannot overstate my astonishment at what I read therein, at this sudden discovery that my father had led a life of excitement and adventure in the years before my birth.
My mother found me there, sprawled across the harmonium, some three hours later. I was well into the second volume, covering the autumn of 1854 and the winter of 1855, enraptured by my father's adventures.
I received a stern admonishment for climbing on the furniture, but was permitted to continue my reading. Indeed, Mother was kind enough to lift down all twenty-two volumes and help me carry them to my room, so that I might peruse them at my leisure.
I shall not describe at length the contents of those journals to my readers; I trust everyone who has taken an interest in this account is familiar with the general outline of Jack Derringer's career as the young companion of the famed adventurer Darien Lord, and the more intimate details he saw fit to record are best kept private. Nor do I think it difficult to imagine the effect those books had upon me -- My father, an adventurer? What a revelation for a lad such as I was -- I could scarcely contain my excitement. I read through all twenty-two volumes in a great rush, and when I had finished I returned to the beginning and read through them again.
Once again, I was enthralled. The realization that the bold and beautiful Arabella Whitaker described in the later volumes was my own dear mother added to the delight I found in my father's narrative.
How the series happened:
I had set out to write a "young adult" steampunk adventure, but my childhood love of 19th century adventure novels got the better of me, and it turned out not so much punk as pulp. I like it even better that way, but publishers didn't, so I published it through Misenchanted Press.
That's it; here's your list of handy exits: