Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ancient Appetites by Oisin McGann

ISBN 978-1-4976-6570-5  Trade Paperback $17.99
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween (August 11, 2015), 412 pages.
  • Age Range: 12-17 years
  • Series: The Wildenstern Saga (Book 1)

The blurb:
The slow collapse of the British Empire in the 19th century meant opportunity for anyone with ammunition and wit.  Now the Wildensterns are by far the most powerful family--and the most ruthless.  Trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy and endowed with the supernatural ability to live for more than a century, the clan has grown rich, vicious, and seemingly invincible.

After nearly 2 years away, eighteen-year-old Nate has returned. But his homecoming is shattered when his eldest brother, Marcus, is mysteriously killed. Following the Rules of Ascension, which allow one male family member to murder another, Nate is being blamed.  Nate knows he isn't the murderer, but who is?  With the help of his sister-in-law, Daisy, and his cousin Gerald, Nate intends to find out. Their investigation brings them into the underbelly of the Wildenstern empire, where living machines, conspiring relatives, and undercover mercenaries do their dirty work.   But when a disaster uncovers the ancient remains of Wildenstern ancestors, the lives of the family members and their struggle for power will take a bizarre and gruesome turn.

It's a parallel universe during the Victorian Era, the time of the Industrial Revolution, with Steampunk animals that combine aspects and physical characteristics of machines. The Wildenstern family has its hand in many businesses but captures, tames, trains and harnesses the powers of these dangerous creatures. The Wildensterns have amassed one of the largest fortunes in the world. But beyond their reputation for almost limitless wealth and good fortune, the Wildensterns have a reputation for exceptional physical strength and endurance - the power to survive that which would kill ordinary men. The family is known for its ability to survive mortal attacks and dangerous situations. Like some of the other powerful and wealthy clans, they are gifted with the ability to heal faster and better by physical contact with gold. Unlike most other powerful families, the males in their line are allowed to murder or assassinate family members if it brings them closer to the line of succession.

In Ancient Appetites, Oisin McGann has created a fascinating world with clear complex rules of behavior, hierarchy and class. There's family drama, a dashing young male lead, spirited young women eager to find their place in the world, vast wealth and power, treacherous and jealous relations - a wonderful, gripping read with much humor. I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

About the Author:
Oisin McGann was born and raised in Ireland. Before becoming an author, he worked as a freelance illustrator, serving time along the way as a pizza chef, security guard, background artist for an animation company, and art director and copywriter in an advertising agency.

In 2003 he published his first two books in the Mad Granddad series for young readers, followed by his first young adult novel, The Gods and Their Machines. Since then, he has written several more novels for young adults, including the Wildenstern Saga, a steampunk series set in 19th century Ireland, and the thrillers Strangled Silence and Rat Runners.

A full-time writer and illustrator, Oisin is married, has three children, and lives somewhere in the Irish countryside.

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