The Violins Played before Junstan by Lou Kemp

The Violins Played before Junstan: The Prequel (Celwyn) by [Lou Kemp]

This was a highly imaginative read!  It is hard to pinpoint the best part of the book; was it the fabulous modes of transportation the characters were privy to, the incredible adventures they had, the community they created, or the characters themselves? Obviously, it is hard to talk about all these wonderful aspects of the book without revealing too much of the story. Thus I will leave out the spoilers and run with the characters.

The center of the story is Celwyn, a handsome man of many talents skilled in the ways of magic.  Celwyn is charismatic, mysterious, honorable, and ethical in many ways.  He picks up or gathers people around him along the way, seamlessly building a community as he travels.  The first to join his group is Professor Kang, a brilliant man with various skills, including great patience that comes in handy with all the adventures.  The two agree to take on an American heiress with a penchant for hats and the strong desire to rid herself of extended family members.  Fourth in the group is an extremely tall, well-built man, and an academic from Sudan.  Together these four form a team that fights evil, bad guys and protects the innocent as they travel across the world.  Kemp’s characters are some of the best I have come across.  Every one of them is intriguing, 3-dimensional, and memorable.  By mixing fabulous characters, the glamour, and luxury of the 1800s with a bit of steampunk and a little evil.

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