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The Hunchback Assignments
Book One of the The Hunchback Assignments
by Arthur Slade
Book Provided by Random House

Modo the disfigured young hunchback has the unique ability to shift into any shape he wants–but only for a few hours. Trained from birth by the mysterious Mr. Socrates he’s enlisted at the age of fourteen as a secret agent. Someone is kidnapping orphans and turning you men into unwilling assassins. With the help another teen agent–the witty, feisty, and beautiful Octavia Milkweed–the two of them must stop the Clockwork Guild’s nefarious plot before it’s too late.

This fast-paced Steampunk book for young adults is packed full of action, suspense and mystery. The Steampunk elements are woven seamlessly into the story and even though the advanced technology isn’t precisely explained, you never question it’s presence, both from the ghastly experiments of Dr. Hyde the mad-scientist or the wondrous gadgets Mr. Socrates has. There’s everything from mechanical birds to steam powered limbs, to giant robots.

There’s not a lot of backstory, but there’s some great character development. It’s very easy to root for young, sheltered, and resilient Modo, horrifying looks aside. Octavia, the savvy former orphan and street sparrow, makes a great foil and the attraction between them crackles enough to intrigue girls but not enough to turn off boys. As they world together to stop the Clockwork guild it’s very clear that Modo is interested in Octavia, but is afraid of what she’ll think if she sees the real him. This thread is left unresolved, but they’ll most likely be reunited to fight evil another day.

This book is fast paced, sometimes almost too fast. But Slade’s alternate Victorian London is still rich and gritty, the story full of plot twists and turns. Filled with non-stop action, peril, gadgets, intrigue, and just a hint of innocent romance this book should be a hit with both boys and girls tween/younger teen set.

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Today we welcome author Arthur Slade, who writes The Hunchback Assignments series. Did you know there are Steampunk books for tweens/younger teens? He’s written two of them! The Dark Deeps , the second book in the series was just released and I have a copy to give away to one lucky poster!

The Hunchback Assignments

When Modo turns fourteen, his education is complete. He must first survive in London on his own, then, with the help of beautiful Octavia, he uncovers a sinister plot being carried out in the very sewers beneath London.

The Dark Deeps

Modo’s latest mission, to uncover the underwater mystery behind the sinking of several ships, seems impossible. There are rumours of a sea monster or something even more nefarious. An astounding secret in the depths of the ocean.
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Steampunk Book Trailers
by Arthur Slade

Book trailers are a relatively new creation of the book publishing industry and they range from the “made on my home computer” to professional, movie-quality videos. I had created plenty of my own book trailers on my Mac, but to kick off The Hunchback Assignments I felt I needed to do something new and professional. I worked with a company out of Texas. I gave them the back cover copy, images from the Canadian, American, and Australian covers and they ran with it. They were able to provide powerful graphics, original music and, well, a “movie announcer” voice. Take a listen.

I was extremely pleased with how it turned out. How I wish my voice sounded like that! There was a good response to the trailer and it was fun to go back to the same company and see what they could do for The Dark Deeps.

Essentially this video is a sequel to the first one. The book trailers have become more useful than I imagined–I thought they would only be appearing on the internet but the trailers have been used on radio to introduce me before an interview (obviously they only used the audio portion of the trailer ), in bookstores to promote the book, and I use the trailers whenever I do a presentation–it’s a great way to lead off a reading and talk about the book. They certainly get the audience’s attention.

Plus, it’s almost like seeing a movie of the book come to life. Almost…

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The Hunchback Assignments
“A terrific entertainment.” Quill and Quire. Starred review.

Arthur Slade was raised in the Cypress Hills of southwest Saskatchewan and began writing at an early age. He received an English Honours degree from the University of Saskatchewan, spent several years writing advertising and now writes fiction full time. He is the author of the “Canadian Chills” series of books, “Dust” (which won the Governor General’s award), “Tribes,” and “Monsterology.” He currently lives in Saskatoon.

Make sure you visit the other stops on Arthur’s book tour!

Previous stops on The Dark Deeps blog tour:

Friday, September 17 – ArtSlade.com
Saturday September 18 – Cynsations
Sunday, September 19 – Free the Princess

Upcoming stops on The Dark Deeps blog tour:

Tuesday, September 21 – Steampunk Tribune
Wednesday, September 22 – Suvudu
Thursday, September 23 – Steampunk Scholar
Friday, September 24 – Through the Looking Glass

Want to win an ARC of The Dark Deeps? just leave a comment below telling me which book trailer you liked better and why. Contest runs through 11:59 pm PST, September 30, 2010, open internationally.

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