Dave Freer, author of Cuttlefish, is an ichthyologist turned author. He lives on Flinders Island, between Australia and Tasmania, with his wife, Barbara; four dogs; four cats; and two sons, Paddy and James. His first book, The Forlorn, came out in 1999. He has coauthored novels with Eric Flint and with Mercedes Lackey, as well as written A Mankind Witch and Dragons Ring and various shorter works. Besides working as a fisheries scientist for the Western Cape shark fishery, he has worked as a commercial diver and as a relief chef at several luxury game lodges. His other interests are rock climbing, diving, fly-fishing, fly tying, wine tasting, and the smoking and salting of food.
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?
The smallest thing can change the path of history.
The year is 1976, and the British Empire still spans the globe. Coal drives the world, and the smog of it hangs thick over the canals of London.
Clara Calland is on the run. Hunted, along with her scientist mother, by Menshevik spies and Imperial soldiers, they flee Ireland for London. They must escape airships, treachery, and capture. Under flooded London's canals, they join the rebels who live in the dank tunnels there.
Tim Barnabas is one of the underpeople, born to the secret town of drowned London, place of anti-imperialist republicans and Irish rebels, part of the Liberty—the people who would see a return to older values and free elections. Seeing no farther than his next meal, Tim has hired on as a submariner on the Cuttlefish, a coal-fired submarine that runs smuggled cargoes beneath the steamship patrols, to the fortress America and beyond.
When the Imperial soldiery comes ravening, Clara and her mother are forced to flee aboard the Cuttlefish. Hunted like beasts, the submarine and her crew must undertake a desperate voyage across the world, from the Faeroes to the Caribbean and finally across the Pacific to find safety. But only Clara and Tim Barnabas can steer them past treachery and disaster, to freedom in Westralia. Carried with them—a lost scientific secret that threatens the very heart of Imperial power.