Extract from Usborne Children’s Books
Malkin pressed his forepaws against the flight-deck window and peered out. The silver airship was still following; gaining on them. The purr of its propellers and the whoosh of its knife-sharp hull cutting through the air sent a shiver of terror through his clockwork innards.
The fox tore his eyes away and stared at his master. John’s ship, Dragonfly, was fast but she had nothing in the way of firepower. The silver airship, by contrast, bristled with weapons. Sharp metal spikes stuck out from her hull, making her look like some sort of militarized porcupine.
Just then, Dragonfly’s rudder shifted, and she pitched as John twisted the wheel into a one-eighty turn to swoop back past her pursuers.
The silver airship shrunk away, but within seconds she’d swung around to follow. She began closing in once more; her propellers chopping through the clouds, throwing dark shadows across their stern. When the two airships broke into a patch of blue, she fired.
A harpoon slashed across the sky and thudded into Dragonfly’s hull, the point piercing her port side.
Cover and inside illustrations by Kath Millichope and Becca Stadtlander
(some images via Thinkstock)
384 pages in paperback
To be published 1st September 2016 by Usborne Books
Introduction from Cogheart.com
MEET THE ADVENTURERS
Introducing… Lily, Robert and Malkin
When thirteen-year-old Lily’s inventor father disappears after a routine Zeppelin flight, Lily’s determined to find out the truth behind his disappearance. But she’s not the only one searching for him; there are silver eyed men in the shadows who will stop at nothing to find him.
With Robert, the local clockmaker’s son, and a cantankerous clockwork fox called Malkin, Lily travels to London, where they discover that she holds the key to the mystery…
A mystery closer to Lily’s heart than she could have ever imagined.
So you are, or you know, a confident young reader. You’re looking for adventure, thrills and lots of peril in the stories – but you want the main characters to be brave and resourceful enough to meet the challenges. Perhaps you have read or watched some of Jules Verne’s stories. Perhaps you like steam-driven machinery and Victorian engineering. Perhaps you have older friends who love Gail Carriger’s books – and you’d like something like that, without the soppiness romance.
Well, Cogheart is just right for you. It’s chock full of intriguing characters, both human and mechanical. There’s a wind-up fox, grumpy and loyal; an adventurous orphaned girl and a kind, brave boy. They are pitted against murderous villains, treachery and deceit – all in a riot of well-imagined steampunk settings.
If you like desperate peril, can cope with genuine sadness and loss, and don’t mind a few shocks along the way, this will suit admirably. The point of view shifts between the three main characters, and it is quite long – so it’s not suited to a beginner. But the pace rattles along through 26 mostly short and snappy chapters.
I don’t imagine it’s the last we will read about Lily, Robert and Malkin: Usborne certainly feel this debut could start off a classic series. (I do hope the rather wonderful Mrs Rust, Miss Tock, Captain Springer and Mr Wingnut make an appearance in Book 2 due 2017.) At any rate, this first tale would make a glorious animation – check out the moving cover on the Cogheart mini-site to see what I mean.
Fantastical, immersive – and yet with real heart.
K. M. Lockwood lives by the sea in Sussex - see the pics on Instagram. She fills jars with sea-glass, writes on a very old desk and reads way past her bedtime. Her tiny bed-and-breakfast is stuffed full of books - and even the breakfasts are named after writers. You're always welcome to chat stories with @lockwoodwriter on Twitter.