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Arabella The Traitor of Mars

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Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ulti Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ultimate loyalties lie, with the Empire or with their home.


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Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ulti Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ultimate loyalties lie, with the Empire or with their home.

30 review for Arabella The Traitor of Mars

  1. 3 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: David D. Levine’s THE ADVENTURES OF ARABELLA ASHBY Regency fantasy trilogy wraps up in Arabella the Traitor of Mars (2018), which, appropriately, returns us to early 1800’s colonial-era Mars, where all the action began in Arabella of Mars. The series is an engaging melding of Jules Verne-style retro science fiction with Horatio Hornblower-type naval battles in the air above Mars, with an intrepid young woman heroine. *Some spoilers for the fir 3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: David D. Levine’s THE ADVENTURES OF ARABELLA ASHBY Regency fantasy trilogy wraps up in Arabella the Traitor of Mars (2018), which, appropriately, returns us to early 1800’s colonial-era Mars, where all the action began in Arabella of Mars. The series is an engaging melding of Jules Verne-style retro science fiction with Horatio Hornblower-type naval battles in the air above Mars, with an intrepid young woman heroine. *Some spoilers for the first two books in the series follow* Fresh off their victory over Napoleon in the skies over the planet Venus, related in the second book, Arabella and the Battle of Venus, Arabella and her India-born husband Captain Singh are now in England, honored guests of the Prince Regent. Emboldened by their defeat of the French on Venus and encouraged by his advisors and the Mars Company, Prinny has decided that it’s time to take control of Mars, where England has a foothold in the form of some British towns and invaluable khoresh-wood plantations, and turn it into a full-fledged colony of England, adding to England’s empire and to the Prince’s coffers. The Prince asks Captain Singh to be the fleet commander over the naval expeditionary force to Mars, leading the military invasion to deal with any resistance from the native Martians. Arabella is an ardent supporter of Martian independence and can’t believe her beloved husband is even considering doing this, but Captain Singh is torn by his loyalty to his adopted country, England, and believes that he can use his position to make sure the invasion isn’t too brutal toward the native Martians. Arabella disagrees vehemently, especially after she finds out about a subplot to disgrace her husband. After a bitter argument, Arabella takes off on a Draisine (one of the earliest historic versions of the bicycle) to try to catch a ship to Mars, warn the Martians of the pending invasion, and do whatever she can to help the resistance effort against the British fleet. Naval battles, albeit in the air and space rather than the ocean, take center stage in Arabella the Traitor of Mars, along with the travails of long voyages by airship and the difficulties of organizing and carrying out a resistance against British invasion. Personal relationships are of secondary importance to military and naval planning and execution. Perhaps as a result, as well as the restrained, sometimes distant tone, I didn’t find this third book quite as engaging as the previous two in the series, but readers with an interest in military history will find much to interest them. As with the previous two books in the ARABELLA ASHBY series, Levine weaves in actual historic events (the Opium Wars make a disguised appearance in one subplot) and historic figures, like the Prince’s mistress Lady Hertford and Lord Reid of the East India Company (here the Mars Company). It’s almost inevitably a bit dicey dealing with colonialism and racism themes in fictional literature, which Levine takes on directly in the form of British prejudice against and mistreatment of the Martian natives, and even more so when a white person is the main character of the story, but Levine has made a clear effort to make the native Martians an integral and fully engaged part of the resistance. Still, the renegade British and their ships are the biggest factor in the resistance, even with a native Martian as the admiral of their small fleet. The final diplomatic resolution of the conflict is too quick and seemed improbable. Despite these weaknesses, Arabella the Traitor of Mars has an interesting plot and a feisty, valiant heroine with a taste for adventure. The naval air battles are intense and detailed. Arabella’s relationship with Captain Singh is based on mutual respect (one gets a hint of passion as well, but it’s well hidden behind Regency-era doors here). Her relationship with her brother Michael, the head of her family and a landholder on Mars, is complex and adds depth to the overall story of the rebellion. It’s a satisfying wrap-up to a unique retro-SF series with modern sensibilities. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Tor, for review. Thank you!!

  2. 3 out of 5

    Bonnie McDaniel

    This is the third volume in the Adventures of Arabella Ashby, a steampunk, alternate history, Jules Verne-esque pulp Regency adventure. Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in the previous book, Arabella Ashby and her now husband, Captain Pradash Singh of the Honorable Mars Company airship Diana, return to Earth to find that England, as the solar system's only remaining superpower, has set its sights on Mars. I'll be honest: I didn't like this volume quite as well as the first two. The "sc This is the third volume in the Adventures of Arabella Ashby, a steampunk, alternate history, Jules Verne-esque pulp Regency adventure. Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in the previous book, Arabella Ashby and her now husband, Captain Pradash Singh of the Honorable Mars Company airship Diana, return to Earth to find that England, as the solar system's only remaining superpower, has set its sights on Mars. I'll be honest: I didn't like this volume quite as well as the first two. The "science," of course, is completely unbelievable: Mars inhabited, with its own native species! Venus the same! A solar system filled with air--the "interplanetary atmosphere"--that airships can navigate! But this has been baked into the books from the start, so the reader must grant this suspension of disbelief and move on. If a particular reader can do so, of course. I could. The reason I didn't like this book as much is the frenetic, tightly stuffed plot that seemed to come at the expense of character development. This book covers a twelve-year time span, and A LOT happens: the Mars Rebellion, the overthrowing of English rule, and Arabella's life on Mars afterwards. This is not to say that the rebellion tale isn't good in and of itself--the fight scenes, especially, carry on the excellent tradition of the previous books. One can smell the smoke of the cannon balls and feel the heat of the burning sails, and the splinters of the broken masts. But I would have preferred a little less action and a little more about the characters, especially the natives of Mars who seem to be given pretty short shrift in favor of our human heroine. It's just a bit of a letdown, especially compared to the previous book, Arabella and the Battle of Venus. But it's still a solid story.

  3. 3 out of 5

    Henry Lazarus

    David D. Levine concludes his wonderful series about Nineteenth century England in a solar system filled with air in which Englishmen sail the solar currents to both Mars and Venus. Arabella The Traitor of Mars (hard from Tor) starts with Arabella and her husband being feted at the heroes who helped stop Napoleon from conquering the system with iron clad ships built on Venus. Unfortunately the Prince Regent of England along with the Honorable Mars Company have decided that it is England’s best i David D. Levine concludes his wonderful series about Nineteenth century England in a solar system filled with air in which Englishmen sail the solar currents to both Mars and Venus. Arabella The Traitor of Mars (hard from Tor) starts with Arabella and her husband being feted at the heroes who helped stop Napoleon from conquering the system with iron clad ships built on Venus. Unfortunately the Prince Regent of England along with the Honorable Mars Company have decided that it is England’s best interest to conquer Mars and its natives. Arabella, who as born and raised on Mars and who had close Martian Native friends. Along with her husband Captain Singh, and Robert Fulton, who had discovered that hydrogen provided enough lift to allow iron clad sky ship, Arabella helps found a city on Mars to build ships only to have it destroyed by the English. Retreating to Phobos, protected by currents that make it difficult to work through, She and her friends have an impossible task to defeat the second English Fleet. I really enjoyed this series. Review printed by Philadelphia Free Press

  4. 3 out of 5

    Mike

    This was very capably written, and on paper I should have loved it; determined young female protagonists who are intelligent and competent and independent are a feature I look for in books, and here we have one. Somehow, though, I never connected with Arabella emotionally, and while I didn't dislike the book, I also didn't love it. There could be several reasons for that. One reason may be the stiff, cool language of the (alternate-universe) Regency setting. I've enjoyed and emotionally connecte This was very capably written, and on paper I should have loved it; determined young female protagonists who are intelligent and competent and independent are a feature I look for in books, and here we have one. Somehow, though, I never connected with Arabella emotionally, and while I didn't dislike the book, I also didn't love it. There could be several reasons for that. One reason may be the stiff, cool language of the (alternate-universe) Regency setting. I've enjoyed and emotionally connected with books with that kind of setting before, though, such as Melissa McShane's Extraordinaries series. It wasn't my dislike of the gory battle scenes, though I'm not a fan of those; they came late in the book, when I was already feeling disengaged. The other main problem I had, and perhaps the main reason for my coolness towards the book, was that I was working so hard to maintain suspension of disbelief. The basic setting (a solar system in which there is air everywhere and sailing ships can voyage through it between the planets) requires quite a robust effort to swallow by itself; I'm OK with the planetary-romance conceit of an inhabited Mars full of canals and an inhabited Venus full of jungles, but the physics of the air-filled solar system made no sense to me, and nor did the idea that people pedaling to propel the ships would make a significant difference to their interplanetary speed. I have a similar struggle with the dragons in the Temeraire series (who cause suspiciously few supply problems, and can fly amazingly well, for such enormous creatures). I appreciate that part of SFF is suspending disbelief, but some premises make it harder than others. On top of this unlikeliness, too, there are a few others layered. For example, the inciting incident of the whole book is that the heroine refuses to accept the Prince Regent's plans to conquer Mars and exploit it for Britain. I appreciate that, as he mentions in his afterword, the author was trying to write an anti-colonialist novel, but I'm afraid I never believed Arabella's rebellion against the comprehensively held mindset of her time. Even when I reminded myself that the American colonies had rebelled and thrown off British colonial government, I still couldn't help thinking that that was emphatically not because anyone there respected the native inhabitants and considered resisting colonialism as such to be a matter of self-evident natural justice. On top of which, Arabella is an example of the White Saviour trope; real resistance to colonialism was almost universally driven by indigenous peoples themselves, and although the Martians play an important and respected role in the resistance, they don't initiate it and they're not at all the centre of the plot. And then there's a fortunate and somewhat unlikely coincidence at the all-is-lost moment that saves the day, putting a further heavy burden on my already overstrained suspension of disbelief. Ultimately, I think I didn't love it because I didn't believe it. I haven't read the previous two books in the series; there's enough catch-up at the beginning that I wasn't confused about the events of the backstory, but it may be that I would have been more emotionally engaged, and perhaps even believed more easily, if I'd been through the process of following Arabella's earlier adventures, rather than having them briefly summarized. Who knows? Your experience of the book may be different, and I will say that the writing craft is at an admirable standard. I couldn't quite bring myself to drop it down to three stars, but it's at the lower end of four, for me. I received a copy via Netgalley for purposes of review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    As Captain and Mrs Singh are welcomed to England as heroes, the Prince Regent is already plotting another war and he wants Captain Singh as his commander. The Captain is in a tricky spot, he has sworn his allegiance to the Company and the Crown, but the plans are to conquer Mars through military and drug might for the Prince Regents greedy ends. Arabella is appalled that her husband would even consider being part of this heinous plan. She may be a British citizen but her heart belongs to the pla As Captain and Mrs Singh are welcomed to England as heroes, the Prince Regent is already plotting another war and he wants Captain Singh as his commander. The Captain is in a tricky spot, he has sworn his allegiance to the Company and the Crown, but the plans are to conquer Mars through military and drug might for the Prince Regents greedy ends. Arabella is appalled that her husband would even consider being part of this heinous plan. She may be a British citizen but her heart belongs to the planet she grew up on. Convinced she must warn the Martians before British forces arrive, Arabella sneaks away and enlists the Touchstone crew on a plan that will get them all labeled traitors. Can Mars hold its own against the greatest navy in the solar system? And what of all the people whose allegiances are torn in two by this conflict? The entire first part of this book I felt like Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance were playing in the background as Captain Singh wrestles between duty and his heart. As an expat, I totally get Arabella’s feelings for Mars and how those who have grown up only on Earth just can’t get her. I really appreciate how well Levine conveys her third culture kid emotions and her unique understanding of both sides of the conflict that’s quite unlike anyone else’s. As reimagined history, this somewhat mimics the Opium Wars but only in the impetus for the war. From there on out, this story is all Levine’s, though of course, there can be parallels found in many points of history if you really, really want to find some. I do like that this plot line allows us to spend more time on Mars than many previous books and introduces more Martian culture. Through the conflict, the book does bring up some very important thinking points. Those who enjoy realistically depicted naval battles will eat this book up. Levine makes you feel like he totally witnessed naval battles in space and makes them come to life in sharp and often horrifying detail. I was grateful for the way Levine handled the conflict between Captain and Mrs Singh (view spoiler)[it does not go on through the whole book as I at first feared it would, Captain Singh quickly comes to his senses and realizes he should also work to help the Martians (hide spoiler)] . Recommended for reimagined history fans, space-based scifi fans, technologically savvy heroine fans, third culture kid fans, and naval battle fans. Notes on content [based on the ARC]: As per the practice of the time period it is mimicking, swear words are dashed out except for the first and last letters and just a handful of these. No sexual content beyond some kissing. Some intense battle scenes with fatalities, wounds, and gore realistically depicted. I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Purvis

    "Arabella The Traitor of Mars" eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David D. Levine (https://www.daviddlevine.com). Mr. Levine has published three novels as well as numerous novellas and short stories. This is the third in his  "The Adventures of Arabella Ashby" series.  I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an alternate history to "Arabella The Traitor of Mars" eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David D. Levine (https://www.daviddlevine.com). Mr. Levine has published three novels as well as numerous novellas and short stories. This is the third in his  "The Adventures of Arabella Ashby" series.  I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an alternate history to our own. While the story is set in Earth's 19th century, this one has lighter-than-air craft traveling around the Solar System since the 1600s. The main character in this fantastical tale is Mrs. Arabella (Ashby) Singh, a young woman who has grown up in the British Colony on Mars.  While she is a more or less proper English young lady, she has shown far more interest in adventure and mechanical automata than English refinement. She has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with as she helped her fiancé defeat Napoleon's space navy at Venus. While in London celebrating the defeat of Napoleon and paying last respects to Lord Nelson who died in the battle, she learns of a plan by both The Mars Company and the British Crown to force the entire planet of Mars into the British Commonwealth.  Flush with the defeat of Napoleon, there seems to be no obstacle to Britain's domination of Mars or the Solar System. When her husband is chosen to lead the British forces, she feels betrayed and flees Earth in a desperate attempt to reach Mars ahead of the British forces and lead a resistance as she feels Mars is her home rather than England. It becomes a race to see if adequate Martian forces can be brought together to oppose the powerful British fleet.  I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 336 page steampunk alternate history and fantasy. While I liked the story and there are several very well created battles between opposing vessels, I really had a hard time with the notion of there being a breathable atmosphere between planets and 'sailing ships' able to travel through space. Perhaps if I had started with the first book in the series things would have been explained, but I doubt it. I was able to pick up this third novel in the series and read it without really needing to have read the prior novels in the series. I do like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5. Further book reviews I have written can be accessed at https://johnpurvis.wordpress.com/blog/.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Well. The series is over, although I didn't believe Levine was going to be able to get it wrapped up in time. I still enjoyed this, but some of my ambivalence about the series has continued. In this book, Arabella's relationship to her husband just didn't ring true to me. Also I found the final battle to be, well, improbable enough that it almost felt to me like the author had gotten us into this big battle, but suddenly realized his word limit was approaching, just went "Ta-da! They win!" and s Well. The series is over, although I didn't believe Levine was going to be able to get it wrapped up in time. I still enjoyed this, but some of my ambivalence about the series has continued. In this book, Arabella's relationship to her husband just didn't ring true to me. Also I found the final battle to be, well, improbable enough that it almost felt to me like the author had gotten us into this big battle, but suddenly realized his word limit was approaching, just went "Ta-da! They win!" and stopped. Anyway. This was a pretty fun little steampunk trilogy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jo (Mixed Book Bag)

    Arabella just cannot keep from putting herself in danger. This time to save Mars. It looks like she and her beloved Captain Singh are on opposite sides. But wait! Will they really fight against each other. It is fun to watch real history and the alternate history that Arabella lives in collide. I think this was the best story of Arabella Ashby's adventures. Read book one and two first so you have the entire world building and back story. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest Arabella just cannot keep from putting herself in danger. This time to save Mars. It looks like she and her beloved Captain Singh are on opposite sides. But wait! Will they really fight against each other. It is fun to watch real history and the alternate history that Arabella lives in collide. I think this was the best story of Arabella Ashby's adventures. Read book one and two first so you have the entire world building and back story. I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

  9. 3 out of 5

    William Tracy

    This was a really good ending to the Arabella trilogy. I honestly thought Levine was setting up for a fourth book until about 3/4 of the way through, but this one does end the series. There were a couple parts I wasn't fully on-board with, especially concerning the final status of antagonists. I thought the societal changes started especially in the second book could have been pushed further. But ultimately an enjoyable read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lassman

    I really liked this series. As with the last one, I had to walk away a number of times because I couldn't stand the suspense. There was maybe a little more battle description than I found absolutely necessary, but it was not unexpected and didn't really take away from the book. I liked the characters and was really looking forward to what happened to them next. I'm hoping Levine does some more steampunk for me to enjoy!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karen Cohn

    An eminently satisfying and enjoyable conclusion to the Arabella trilogy, with many twists and turns along the way.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meg Pontecorvo

    Just as much fun as the first two books, although the ending feels rushed in places (but the epilogue is perfect).

  13. 3 out of 5

    Susan

    very enjoyable finale of the series. at least I think it is the finale.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Giulia

    2.5 stars

  15. 3 out of 5

    Jenna Barnes

  16. 3 out of 5

    Lauralyrics

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rudi Kramer

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 5 out of 5

    MJ

  21. 3 out of 5

    Nja Nancy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dufrau

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dgordon

    Didn't quite enjoy this book as much as the previous two but the writing was just as good and the characters are just as interesting and fun. The battle for Mars is thrilling as are the preparations for it and this a good wind-up to the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

  25. 3 out of 5

    Elemme

  26. 5 out of 5

    Klever

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alan Batie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tarena

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kris

  30. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

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