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The Transference Engine is an imaginative departure from standard steampunk fare

The Transference Engine

by Julia Verne St. John

Berkley Publishing Group


Sci Fi & Fantasy

Pub Date 5 July 2016


The Transference Engine is an imaginative departure from standard steampunk fare. While there are the expected airships an unusual devices, there is also an intriguing form of magic - necromancy. Followers of the Lord Byron, poet and the head of the cult of necromancy, seek to place the dead man's soul into another body. For that they need the Transference Engine and the knowledge of Madame Magdala and Byron's genius daughter Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace.

Meanwhile, on the eve of Queen Victoria's coronation, a mysterious threat looms. Young women are disappearing including two of the helpers from Magdala's cafe. Whispers of a plot targeting the coronation as well as the reform movements targeting necromancers abound. To top everything off, Magdala’s lover appears involved.

The Transference Engine is an exciting adventure, whose lead is a woman in her prime rather than an ingenue. She knows her own mind and her strengths. Magdala is not a woman who relies on a man for rescue, but is not too proud to accept assistance when necessary. Her practical nature and perceptiveness make her an excellent lead.

I was impressed by The Transference Engine, finding it an exciting and imaginative work of steampunk fantasy.


I received a copy of The Transference Engine from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



Madame Magdala has reinvented herself many times, trying to escape Lord Byron's revenge. She destroyed the Transference Engine Byron hopet to use to transfer his soulf into a more perfect body and perpetuate his life eternally. A fanatical cult of necromancers continues Byron's mission to force Magdala and Byron's only legitimate child--Ada Lovelace--to rebuild the machine and bring Byron back.

Magdala now bills herself as the bastard daughter of a Gypsy King. She runs a fashionable London coffee salon and reading room while living a flamboyant lifestyle at the edge of polite society. Behind the scenes, she and Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, use the massive library stored at the Bookview Cafe to track political and mercantile activity around the world. They watch to make certain the cult of necromancy surrounding Lord Byron, the poet king who worshipped death, cannot bring him back to life.

On the eve of Queen Victoria's coronation in June of 1838, rumors of an assassination attempt abound. Both the Bow Street Runners and Magdala's army of guttersnipe spies seek to discover the plot and the plotters. Who is behind the mysterious black hot air balloon that shoots searing light from a hidden cannon, and who or what is the target? And who is kidnapping young girls from all walks of life?

Desperately, Magdala and her allies follow the clues, certain that someone is building a new Transference Engine. But is it to bring back the dead or destroy the living?

Includes a special bonus story, "Dancing in Cinders"

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