Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding. Retribution Falls book cover. logo logo. Rating / One of the best Steampunk novels. Review: Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding What makes it exceptional is the psychological insight rare in fast-paced, adventure SF, says Eric. Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are.

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Short-listed for the Arthur C. Pirates, sky-ships, and golems are just the trappings for a far-flung adventure of stunning imagination and brilliant craftsmanship. I’ve already booked passage for the next flight of the Ketty Jay Fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly will love fals.

Fate of the Jedi: What makes it exceptional is the psychological insight rare in fast-paced, adventure SF…On every level, Retribution Falls is a triumph. If Joe Abercrombie ever wrote a science fiction book, this is the sort of thing he’d come up with. He was trying not to throw up, having already disgraced himself once that morning. He glanced at the man next to him, hoping for some sign that he had a plan, some way to get them out of this.

But Darian Frey’s face was hard and showed nothing. Both of them had their wrists tied together, backs against the damp and peeling wall. Three armed thugs ensured they stayed there.

The smuggler’s name was Lawsen Macarde. He was squat and grizzled, hair and skin greasy with a sheen of sweat chis grime, features squashed across a face that was broad and deeply lined. Crake watched him slide the bullet into woocing empty drum of retrigution revolver.

He snapped it shut, spun it, then turned toward his audience. Or is it all over-bang! Macarde hit him in the gut, putting all of his considerable weight behind the punch. Frey doubled over with a grunt and almost went retributin his knees. He straightened cheis some effort until he was standing again. You want to see your man’s brains all over the wall?

Crake’s face was gray beneath his close-cropped blond beard. He stank of alcohol and sweat. His eyes flicked to the captain nervously. His hair chrid scruffy, his boots vomit-spattered, his greatcoat half unbuttoned and hanging open. He was near soiling himself with fear. I told you that,” Frey said. His eyes flickered restlessly around the storeroom. Cloud- muffled sunlight drifted in through horizontal slits high up on one stone wall, illuminating rough-hewn hemp sacks, coils of rope, wicked- looking hooks that hung on chains from the ceiling.


Chill shadows cut deep into the seamed faces of Macarde and his men, and the air smelled of damp and decay.

Crake flinched and whimpered as the hammer fell on an empty chamber. After a moment, it sank in: He let out a shuddering breath as Macarde took the gun away, then cast a hateful glare at Frey.

Frey’s expression was blank. He was chrie different person from the man Crake had known the night before. That rretribution had laughed as loud as Malvery and made fun of Pinn with the rest of them. He told stories that had them in stitches and drank until he passed out.

That man, Crake had known for almost three months. That man, Crake might have called a friend. Macarde studied the pistol theatrically. Think you’ll be lucky again? Stop playing around and just tell him. Crake stared at the now-stranger to his right, his eyes pleading.

No doubt about it, it was the same man. There were the same wolfishly handsome features, the same unkempt black retriburion, the same lean frame beneath his long coat. But the spark in his eyes had gone. There was no sign of the ready, wicked smile that usually lurked at the corner of his mouth. He wasn’t going to give in. But Frey just looked away. Crake’s heart leaped hard enough to hurt. He let out a gasp. His mouth was sticky, his whole body was trembling, and he desperately wanted to be sick again.

Retribufion bastard, he thought. He thrust the revolver back into a holster somewhere amid the motley of battered jackets that he retributkon. Macarde paced around the storeroom while a rat-faced thug covered the prisoners with the point of a cutlass. The other two thugs stood in the shadows: One guarded the only exit, the other lounged against a barrel, idly examining a lever-action shotgun.

There were a dozen more like them downstairs. Crake clawed at his mind for some way to escape. In spite of the shock and the pounding in his head, he forced himself to be rational. He’d always prided rrtribution on his discipline and self-control, which only made the humiliation of the last few moments harder to bear.

He’d pictured himself displaying a little more dignity in the face of his own extinction. Their pistols had been taken after they were found at the inn, snoring drunk at the table. Macarde had taken Frey’s beautiful cutlass-my cutlass, Crake thought bitterly-for his own. Now it hung tantalizingly from his belt.

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Crake noticed Frey watching it closely. What of Malvery and Pinn? They’d evidently wandered off elsewhere in the night to continue their carousing, leaving their companions to sleep. It was simply bad luck that Macarde had found him and Frey, tonight of all nights. A few more hours and they’d have been out of port and away. Instead, they’d been dragged upstairs-pausing only for Crake to be sick on his own feet-and bundled into this dank storeroom, where an anonymous and squalid death awaited them if Frey didn’t give up the ignition codes for his aircraft.


I could be dead, Crake thought. That son of a bitch didn’t regribution a thing to stop it. We go back, you and I. Worked together several times, haven’t we? And even though I came to expect a certain sloppiness woiding you over the years-late delivery, cargo retributiln wasn’t quite what you promised, that sort of thing-you never flat-out screwed me.

Retribution Falls (Tales of the Ketty Jay): Chris Wooding: : Books

It wasn’t meant to end up this way. I just want what’s mine. You owe me an aircraft. I’ll take the Ketty Jay.

What you sold me was so degraded it wouldn’t have lifted a biscuit, let alone twenty tons of aircraft. You know how it is. Frey groaned and put his hands to his face. His fingertips came away bloody from a split lip. If there’s some way I can make this up to you, some job I can do, something I can steal, whatever you want.

But you will never get my craft, you hear? You can stuff whatever you like in my ears. The Ketty Jay is mine. That puts me in a pretty strong position as long as I don’t tell you. I’m talking giving you more than the value of your craft. You cut off my thumbs and I can’t fly. Believe me, you do that and I take the code to my grave.

The pilot tried to get the lift and suddenly it just wasn’t there. Couldn’t clear the lip of the canyon. Tore the belly off, and the rest of it went up in flames. You going to compensate me for them too?

He’s got a gold tooth. He glared hard and meaningfully at Crake. It was a picture pose he’d perfected in response to a mortifying ferrotype taken by the family photographer.