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The Steam Mole

David Freer

300 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-692-4
Hardcover ("5 ½ x 8 ½") • $16.95
December 2012
Cover Illustration: © Paul Young



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?


"Cuttlefish is Dave Freer at his best—and he's always good. It combines fascinating alternate history, superb and comprehensible science, and a propulsive plot that will entertain people of all ages, not just young adults."
—Eric Flint
Bestselling author of the 1632 series

"Filled with coal-fired submarines, scientific secrets, and two young people who fight
injustice, work to bring down an evil empire, and quite literally save the world, Cuttlefish is a book to dream upon. Freer's clean style and vivid descriptions, his complex characters and his clear vision make this a book all ages can enjoy."

—Sarah A. Hoyt
Author of Darkship Thieves

"Dave Freer always delivers compelling, fast-moving, and addictive fantasy adventures. Write more, Dave."
—Garth Nix
New York Times–bestselling author of the
Abhorsen trilogy and the Keys to the Kingdom series

"David Freer is an imaginative author who tells great stories."
—Rebecca Moesta
New York Times–bestselling coauthor of Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights

David Freer

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.

Visit him online at,
at, and on Twitter @davefreersf.