Don't want to give a book review or anything like that just wanted to mention it and hopefully you set you on the path of also wanting to read it :)
.. ok just a little bit about this steampunk adventure .. The story is set in World War I or just the beginning of the war and follows the escape of the Alek Ferdinand prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The story combines factual events with a few interesting twists.
The world is basically divided into to groups the Clankers those who have chosen to master the development of steam-driven iron war machines and then there are the Darwinists those who use fabricated or hybrid animals as their weapons of war. The story also follows the adventures of Deryn Sharp a commoner, a girl disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. ... That's all I'm gonna say :) now go out there and get the book I loved it, an easy read that keeps you begging for more :)
The map above called an "allegorical map" basically depicts the political position of the Period. I've listed the symbolism below ... very interesting :)
The Clanker Powers
“Germany is a massive military machine with weapons aimed outwards to all surrounding countries. It points threateningly at Britain, not so much as a sign of direct aggression, but more as an indicator that it was now Germany’s turn to start a grand global Empire to challenge the world’s current one.
“Austria Hungary is an aggressive armoured giant, teetering on shoddy foundations. It is also the primary aggressor in a land grab against Serbia, with two bayonets piercing the border.
“The Ottoman empire is a teetering automaton, collapsing under the weight of a paranoid and ungainly spying network that gazes at Europe through many lenses and spy glasses.
“The Swiss watch ticks away the time, comfortable to wait it all out.”
The Darwinist Powers
“Britain is an militaristic lion beast with a Roman Imperial italic-type helmet. It sits upon a mound of riches gathered from its Empire.
“France’s elephant beast (wearing the French kepi they started the war with before adapting their firefighter helmets) is influenced by the Elephantine Collossus built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 in Paris (later it ended up going to the Moulin Rouge.) It also represents France’s huge significance in WWI, which is something that tends to get a little glossed over.
“Russia is a huge imperialist bear, rotting and filled with maggots. (Russia collapsed during the real war.)
“Serbia’s imagery (a skeleton) is an indicator of the huge amounts of civilian deaths and suffering they’ll find themselves subject to.
“Norway and Sweden are both Scandinavian trolls in the style of John Bauer, an incredible and inspirational illustrator from the time who produced a lot of phenomenal work during the war.
“Portugal is a parrot for the Entente trying to goad a slumbering Spain into the war (this was based on something from a contemporary map and I’m not totally sure about the viewpoint’s veracity, but I couldn’t resist the image, and it seemed to match up with what I knew of the situation.)
“Ireland looks askance to Britain and brandishes a shillelagh. An indicator of their very rough relationship at the time, and of their upcoming involvement with the Central powers.
“Italy is a clutch of snakes with intents on the Central powers despite existing agreements. A foreshadowing of their arrangements at the secret 1915 Treaty of London where they were promised land in exchange for involvement. It was heavily influenced by Italian Prime Minister, Antonio Salandra’s open policy of serving Italy’s self-interest (there’s a great quote where the notion of ‘divine self-interest’ is invoked, but I can’t dig it up unfortunately.)”