eBook Tales from the Archives, Volume 1 Author Pip Ballantine – Wildlives.co
Eliza is summoned to visit with Mrs Kate Shepard, her ideal and hopefully to be her mother in law, who has need of Eliza s expertise with questionable happenings women of the suffrage changing their minds and sides A Mr Fish seems to be visiting these women as Eliza finds, with a persuasive bracelet the Circlet of Dalila, and item from the Archives gone missing while on loan Kate and her suffrage s petition to Parliament could be in dangerWhen the story started we got to hear both Agent Books and Agent Braun in the Archives going through the cases I loved the sound here as it was like we were really in the echo y large basement The characters had the sounds I had thought they would, along with the feel behind their chatter in which they carry on when talking or tormenting each other.The podcast was extremely easy to understand as the speakers spoke clear and precise to understand each word clearly The speed of reading was perfectly paced with the climax of the story along with the way different characters would have sounded in what they where saying The feelings came through wonderfully in the tone and insinuations.I like the steampunk items used The descriptions given are detailed so you can easily visualize them, yet quickly described.The story is quick You get the details and right to the action, as I m starting to expect when Eliza is around In the height of action in the short story the music along with tone and speed of Philippa s voice had my heart picking up pace with the characters and wanting to speed up the story to hear what was happening, wanting to get through the scene quickly so I could know.This story gives us a little view into Agent Eliza Braun We meet the love of Eliza s life, Douglas Shepard And learn a little of Eliza and her ideas of what she wants to see herself as This podcast answered one of my curiosities I had on Eliza after reading A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Phoenix Rising.Would you like to listen to these For a taste of the characters or in addition to the book Visit HERE.There are short stories always added to the listing So keep checking back I listened to these, and I loved the first story by Philippa Ballantine I had to stop both the second and third party way through The reading in the second was painful to the my ears The 3rd was the first Nathan Lowell story I have ever disliked prior to this 4 stars is the lowest I have ever rated his work , being correct to the period came through as so painfully racist I couldn t stomach it I m not going to try any of them. The Evil that Befell Sampson by Pip Ballantine Story of how Eliza Braun had to leave New Zealand because of a suffragist ruckus She also had a true love named Douglas who is the son of on of the two Kates I wonder if he shall ever reappearThe Astonishing Amulet of Amenartas by Nathan Lowell A Rider Haggardesque story about an enchanted necklace A little racist than a little boring and too caught up in the contraptions of Steampunk Also, a mechnical Steampun version of The Luggage from Discworld, though he wouldn t have let a jungle deter him it Dust on the Davenport by O M Grey More haunted and cursed baubles, but imporatantly a really good ghost story that ends too quickly and leaves you wanting Did she die of the same disease as her family or did she kill them and then herself in some way A Ruby in Rain by Grant Stone A weird little story about a cursed ruby used as an eye Like The Moonstone but Australian A bit too Steampunky with the overly obvious insertions of technology Captain Jack would love the tea though.Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris have been willing than most authors to embrace the possibilities of new media Not surprising when you look at their bios and realize how much they have done with podcasts, facebook, twitter, all of which Tee has spoken on So short e pub stories don t seem much of a stretch Yet most authors don t bother to embrace something that could so easily get you new readers and make the returning ones giggle with glee To find that in the dark hours while you are desperately waiting for the next installment of your favorite new book series that there s a short story to tide you over is a wondrous discovery The world of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences also lends itself to this expansion of its universe While there are Books and Braun, who we love dearly, there are not only peripheral characters to be explored, but also characters that have never been mentioned The Ministry is a world wide organization that has been around for quite a few years, their archives are easily full to bursting with stories to tell Telling some of the stories themselves, or relying on other authors, the world that Pip and Tee have created is becoming and rich At last count there are sixteen short stories set within their world You can buy them individually or in collections of four for your reading pleasure As with any collection of stories written by a variety of authors, the quality varies from some of the best short stories I have ever read to ones that I just desperately wanted to end Yet, they do a very good job of showing the scope of The Ministry s power, as they take place from South America to New Zealand, India to remotest Africa, Siam to the American West, and scary houses just over the road in Islington We get old questions answered, like why did Eliza really leave New Zealand, what happened on the river in Paris between her and Harry, how hard was it to get all those seven vases that lead to El Dorado, before Eliza broke the last one, to how bad is the situation between Books and his father We get back stories and side stories and the Ministry Seven, the Ministry s own Baker Street Irregulars, before they where the Ministry Seven Tons of new questions to have answered, that one can only hope for in an upcoming tale.The first collection seems to be centered on all the evil jewels can bring You never want to get a cursed ruby or bauble bad luck will surely befall you While the second collection seems to be action, adventure, daring do, with men being men in far off places and saving the world for Queen and Country Rider Haggard, eat your heart out The third collection contains my very favorite stories of all Some of the best ones I ve read If you have a desire to read some of the best spine tingling stories, this is where to find them Collection four is a hodgepodge of stories that didn t really catch me due to tropes of Terracotta Warriors and masturbatory jokes that seemed to key into this year s movie Hysteria I just think the jokes fell flat and I felt sorry for Books.Yet of all these stories, there are two that I must single out as being sheer perfection The first is Dust on the Davenport by O.M Grey and the second is Hanuman s Gift by Helen E H Madden It does not surprise me that Dust on the Davenport won the Steampunk Chronicle Reader s Choice Award for Best Short Story This little ghost story about a junior agent investigating what the other agents think is just another haunting false alarm starts out as a sweet little story about a grieving widow leaning on a green agent and slowly evolves into full on heebie jeebies land I don t think I ve had this much spine tingling since the first time I watched The Legend of Hell House, which still gives me nightmares Pure Victorian Ghost Story perfection While I think Hanuman s Gift will easily be a contender for this year s Reader s Choice Award Told by Eliza s old partner Harry to the sceptical and inept archivist before Books, it shows the horrors that face agents out in the field and that local myths and legends might best be followed or you could get some zombie monkey action going on that has overtones of Neil Gaiman s Coraline Also, we learn a lesson that is best repeated, be careful what you wish for World peace might mean a world devoid of humanity and spending you days relaxing in your pajamas, might just indicate Bedlam.I look forward to of the promised stories I ll need them if I m to be patient till the next book comes out This collection of four short stories set in the steampunk world of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences turned out better than I expected Only the first story is by one of the two primary authors of the book series Pip Ballantine , hence my concern with this shared world approach But not to worry, each one of the four stories is a worthy read Still, I enjoyed that first one the best, probably because it detailed a key event in Eliza s early career that is mentioned than once in the novels The other stories feature minor characters or new characters but do serve to further flesh out this world.I look forward to reading the next collection. The Ministry Of Peculiar Occurrences Has Many Forgotten Stories In Its Archives Stories Of Madcap Adventures In All Corners Of The Empire, Dark Doings In Hidden Places, And Mysterious Devices And Artifacts That The Everyday Citizen Should Never Become Aware Of For Fear It Would Quite Undo Their MindsArchivist To The Ministry, Eliza D Braun Recently And Unwillingly Reassigned To The Archives And Wellington Thornhill Books Recently And Unwillingly Assigned Eliza D Braun Have Selected Some Cases They Feel The Public Is Ready ForThe Evil That Befell Sampson By Pip Ballantine Eliza D Braun Is A Young Field Agent In The Ministry Of Peculiar Occurrences South Pacific Branch When She Is Asked By New Zealand S Preeminent Suffragist To Investigate Some Strange Goings Within The Organisation She Cannot Possibly Imagination That This Little Case Will Alter Her Entire Life And Thrust Her Into A World Barely Prepared For HerDust On The Davenport By O M Grey Agent Simon R Boswell, Still Considered The Green Agent Of The Ministry, Takes On His Own A Supposed Haunting In Islington Hauntings Tend To Be Nothing Too Serious For Agents Specializing In The Unexplained But For Simon, This Case Supplies Surprises Of All Kinds, Around Every Corner The Astonishing Amulet Of Amenartas By Nathan Lowell Agent Heathcliff Durham Finds Himself Crisscrossing Africa, Looking For An Amulet That Could Spell Disaster For Any Who Come Near It Battling Blistering Heat, Starvation, Wild Animals, And Despair, He Is Not Comforted By The Company Of A Rough And Ready Sort Named Morrison Soon Durham Begins To Suspect He May Never Return Home And To Top It All Off The Tea Has Almost Run OutA Ruby In Rain By Grant Stone From The Farthest Edge Of The Empire, New Zealand Agents Lachlan King And Barry Ferguson Are Called To Interview A Recent Arrival To Auckland S Prisons An Infamous Gambler, According To The Constable S Account, Has Turned Himself Into Their Custody, Not For The Safety Of Society But For His Own The Ministry Steps In To Uncover A Man S Story Of Impressive Luck, And Incredible Vision This collection of stories are from the archives of the Peculiar Occurrences office on what the various spies have been doing and the mysterious reports Eliza and Wellington talk about It is a fun collection and can be read as a standalone if you haven t read any of the books in the series My favorite story was Eliza and Wellington s story but I also enjoyed the rest as well Most of the books are done by various narrators and so there is a mix of good and okay storytellers just as there are stories in the various anthologies you get I do love it when Eliza and Wellington introduce the stories and those are also the ones I tended to enjoy as well.As with all anthologies I enjoyed some, loved some and found some were okay None were horrible and overall I had fun One thing I need to tell you is when you are listening to the stories, there will be some background noise pertinent to the story A gunshot, a foot step, things of this nature are thrown in to make it like the old stories when there was no tv I wasn t prepared and jumped several times until I realized that is what is going on LOL It was odd to turn when there were footsteps but no one behind me D Not to mention the gunshot So be prepared I give this collection 4 stars It is fun and a great addition to the series I will be listening to the rest in the other collection as time permits It is free on iTunes as audio but you can also get it in ebook format Those do have a price on it s head though. The first story, The Evil that Befell Sampson is the back story for The Janus Affair, although events take place prior to Phoenix Rising Chronologically then it could be considered Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.5 , but I would suggest readers hold off reading it until after at least reading Phoenix Rising I think it was much fun to jump into Phoenix Rising completely fresh and let the characters unfold But fans of these two books will probably be interested in reading this story, Eliza D Braun s experiences in New Zealand which led to her exportation to England and which are alluded to in The Janus Affair. I liked it and it was nice to learn some back story for all the little references in Phoenix Rising However,the part where the guy kisses the grieving widow while she s being attacked by her dead husband is far fetched. My first foray into this world, having backed a story on kickstarter Containing 4 stories set in the world of Peculiar Occurances they are quick paced fun little Steampunk stories.A nice introduction to the Ministry, and will definitely be continuing with the other collections. Cute concept of spinoff short stories from the series Would be better with tighter editing to catch the grammar mistakes Otherwise it just looks like a cynical cheap attempt to make money off fans.