Ang is seventeen and just doing her job—her very complicated, very dangerous job—when two things happen that will change her life. First, she sees that the Beacon, Bar-Selehm’s greatest and brightest icon, has been stolen from its place towering above the steam and chimneys of the city. Second, she finds her new apprentice, Berrit, dead. The work of a steeplejack is not for the faint of heart: climbing the tall and twisting buildings of Bar-Selehm is a constant matter of life and death. But Berrit didn’t fall from a building or a ladder; he was stabbed. And Ang’s steeplejack skills are about to come in handy for more than just repairing the crumbling facades of the city.
A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack is equal parts South African-inspired steampunk, detective fiction, coming-of-age saga, and political intrigue; it is as diverse in genre and theme as it is in its characters. Add to all of this Ang—courageous, kind, and out-of-place no matter where she goes—and you’ll find a reading experience both rich and impossible to turn away from. Ang’s quest to solve Berrit’s murder takes her from the toxic maneuvers of high society to the stifling conformity of village life, from surrogate motherhood to violent protests. It is a complex story that only a protagonist like Ang could carry; a story filled with danger and hope alike.