Reviews of The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum


This tale of two monsters, at once romantic and action-packed, is fun and thought-provoking, giving readers everything they want.

--Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

Throughout their sensationalistic escapades Ward references the works of HG Wells, Arthur Conan Doyle, MR James, and other forefathers of SFFH with wholehearted enthusiasm, yet still manages to update their stodginess with breathtakingly matter-of-course feminism and homophilia. Which is to say this is nostalgia for forward-looking readers. A neat trick. Also a fun one.

--Nisi Shawl, The Seattle Review of Books

All that is well and good, but where Ward’s work shines is in the development of the relationship between Lucy and Clarimal (better known as the vampire Carmilla). There’s the question of whether a love can be immoral when two people deeply care about each other. There’s also a sense of the tension between the old world and the new, as old superstitions and rites lose their efficacy and science becomes more predominant.

-Matthew X. Gomez, Broadswords and Blasters

The style is clear and readable. The tone is a mixture of a serious account of characters in desperate situations, and a tongue-in-cheek romp through well-known literary themes. At times it seems like too much of a good thing, as the reader is distracted from the story while trying to keep track of all the allusions to history and fiction. All in all, this mixture of steampunk and gothic horror is enjoyable entertainment.

--Victoria Silverwolf, Tangent