Literature: The Corsay Books

The Corsay Books are an as-yet uncompleted book series by Chris Braak. The first two novels, The Translated Man and Mr. Stitch, are set in the city of Trowth - an Alternate Universe version of Victorian London. They follow the adventures of Elijah Beckett, Elizabteth Skinner, and Valentine Vie-Gorgon. These three are members of the Coroners, a law enforcement group dedicated to fighting the dangerous and exotic sciences known as Heresies.

The overall aesthetic of the series can be described as Lovecraftian Steam Punk, prominently featuring Body Horror, Eldritch Abomination, and fantastical technology made of brass. The world is closely realized, with intriguing details of Trowthi history and culture woven into the page-turner narrative.

A third novel, In Corsay, is planned.

These books provides examples of:

  • Alien Geometries: How the Excelsior was supposed to work. Also the cause of the titular translated man.
  • Alternate Universe
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Coroners' attitude of zero tolerance and summary execution is clearly oppressive, but may be justified given the dangerous nature of the Heretical Sciences.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Skinner
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Valentine is quite eccentric by the standards of Trowthi society
  • Determinator: Elijah Beckett, and - to a lesser extent - Elizabeth Skinner
  • Disability Superpower: The Knockers are blinded to focus their abilities of auditory clairvoyance.
  • Fantastic Racism
  • Hallucinations: Induced by overdoses of the powerful narcotic Fang.
  • Handicapped Badass: Skinner
  • Hostile Weather: The city of Trowth has this in spades, ranging from a Second Winter cold enough to kill an exposed person in moments to psychestorms, which drive anyone not sheltered by copper-plating insane. This often proves an inconvenience.
  • Layered Metropolis: An architecturally improbable example rather like a Lovecraftian Steampunk channeling-suicidal-amounts-of-Perdido Street Station version of Coruscant, spurred on by an architectural war. Yes, really, it all Makes Sense In Context. It started when one noble family built a tall, spindly tower with a view of the river, which offended another noble family who made a squat ugly tower in front of the tall spindly tower as an insult. It escalated into war, until a new front opened up when one architect built bridges over a major thoroughfare that went through his property. Soon, people started building on top of the bridges, to the point that it became a massive, towering, constantly constructed city.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Coroners' job description.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: Skinner and Karine are only employed by the Coroners because most of the young men are away at war.
  • Last Name Basis: Fitting given the quasi-Edwardian setting. Beckett and Skinner are almost always referred to by their last names. Curiously, however, Valentine goes by his first.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Master Swordsman: Valentine, Skinner, and many members of the Trowthi aristocracy.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Valentine Vie-Gorgon
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Beckett's enormous Feathersmith revolver, and Valentine's two pearl-handled revolvers.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: It's implied that Valentine is this when he commits regicide. Beckett has had gone on a long investigation of the Emperor, very well-thought out, where he realizes that the Emperor is essentially a mechanical puppet... meanwhile, Valentine just heads in and shoots the Emperor. It should be noted that Valentine's family had been exiled and their main business of printing had been outlawed. Upon Beckett asking, Valentine just says "I just sort of... figured it out," the implication being that he wanted revenge for his family's ruination.
  • Silly Reason for War: An architectural war at that, started because one noble family was insulted by a tower from another family that blocked their view.
  • Sword Cane: Skinner has one
  • Victorian London: Trowth is something of an Alternate Universe version, albeit with more malevolent weather.