When a young circus performer escapes her abusive ring-master boss and teams up with a ballooning adventurer, she isn’t at all certain she’s made the right decision. However, the pair set off on the trail of a criminal and the mysteriously named Blue Star Sphinx in a four-storey hot air balloon named the Ox. But Beatrix soon finds they are not just dealing with a thief, but with a killer.
Featuring a fascinating and oddly-matched pair of central characters (The Amazing Beatrix and an The Colonel – an Englishman who wears dandelions in his hat), this is a witty and clever book written in a style reminiscent of those classic adventures of the late nineteenth century. As well as the aforementioned individuals, it also boasts a host of strange and unusual characters who add a touch of the surreal to the story. At times I did find the text a little ‘heavy’ (which also made me wonder what age range the book is aimed at), but otherwise it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read that’ll delight fans of steampunk, classic adventure and Dickensian descriptions.