Magazine article World Literature Today

Luminous Chaos

Magazine article World Literature Today

Luminous Chaos

Article excerpt

Jean-Christophe Valtat. Luminous Chaos. Mahendra Singh, ill. Brooklyn, New York. Melville House. 2013. isbn 9781612191416

Luminous Chaos is an enchanting twist on the steampunk novel and serves as a powerful sequel (and, in many ways, prequel) to Jean-Chris- tophe Valtat's earlier success, Auro- rama (see WLT, Jan. 2011, 69). Ini- tially set in the fictitious city of New Venice, a Victorian city just south of the North Pole, the novel's eight protagonists quickly find themselves accidentally transported through time and space back to Paris, 1895. Through a sinister plot by the newly elected regent-doge, the former regent-doge Brentford Orsini and his collage of colorful companions wind up in 1895 Paris instead of arriv- ing in contemporary Paris to fulfill their mission as an embassy of New Venice. Brentford and his friends are trapped far from home in more ways than one and realize that if they are ever to return home (a home that does not yet exist), they must not only figure out how to go forward in time and space, but they also must protect the future founders of New Venice from the forces that seek to destroy them.

The novel brilliantly merges his- torical and literary fiction in 1895 Paris with futuristic science and a dash of magic to top it off. …

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