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Luminous Chaos

Book two in The Mysteries of New Venice series

It’s 1907 in the icily beautiful New Venice, and the hero of the city’s liberation, Brentford Orsini, has been deposed by his arch-rival — who immediately assigns Brentford and his friends on a dangerous diplomatic mission to Paris.

So, Brentford recruits his old friend and louche counterpart, Gabriel d’Allier, underground chanteuse and suffragette Lillian Lake, and the mysterious Blankbate–former Foreign Legionnaire and leader of the Scavengers, the city’s garbage collecting cult–and others, for the mission.

But their mode of transportation–the untested “transaerian psychomotive”–proves faulty and they find themselves transported back in time to Paris 1895 … before New Venice even existed. What’s more, it’s a Paris experiencing an unprecedented and crushingly harsh winter.

They soon find themselves involved with some of the city’s seediest, most fascinating inhabitants. But between attending soirees at Mallarmé’s house, drinking absinthe with Proust, trying to wrestle secrets out of mesmerists, and making fun of the newly-constructed Eiffel Tower, they also find that Paris is a city full of intrigue, suspicion, and danger.

For example, are the anarchists they encounter who are plotting to bomb the still-under construction Sacre Coeur church also the future founders of New Venice? And why are they trying to kill them?

And, as Luminous Chaos turns into another lush adventure told in glorious prose rich in historical allusion, there’s the biggest question of them all: How will they ever get home?

JEAN CHRISTOPHE VALTAT was born in 1968. Educated in the Ecole Normale Superieure and the Sorbonne, he lives in Paris and teaches Comparative Literature. He has written a book of short stories, Album, and two novels, Exes, and 03 (published in English by FSG), as well as award-winning radio-plays and a movie “Augustine” (2003), which he also co-directed.

“An enchanting twist on the steampunk novel… The plot is packed full of everything you could ever want in a good novel: suspense, action, murder, romance, intrigue, and more. It is over five hundred pages long, but it is a rapid-paced page-turner that ends far too soon.” —World Literature Today

“Packed with eccentric feats of pure imagination… If you like pure imagination, you will relish this dreamlike tour de force.” —The Times

“A clever, exceedingly well-written adventure.” —Booklist

“The characters are well realized and the prose itself is clever.” —Library Journal

“Another superb offering.” —Fantasy Book Critic

“A terrific storyteller, Valtat mixes humor and poetry, romance and politics into a surprisingly thoughtful page-turner about social revolution.” —Matthew Jakubowski, Paste Magazine

“[Valtat] has a magical sense of shape, and a gift for lyrical prose that are rare in modern writing.” —La Croix

Jean-Christophe Valtat is a writer of “beautiful energy.” —Le Monde

Praise for Aurorarama:

“[Aurorarama] entrances and delights. You could spend years picking apart the sly references and the particular myths, poems, novels and songs that inspired Valtat, or you can simply enjoy it for the experience. Valtat is making his American debut in a big way…with his remarkable enthusiasm and bravery, it’s completely possible he’ll conquer the world.” —Jessa CrispinNPR

“Aurorarama is a magnificent achievement, balancing serious intent with arch humour. It’s also beautifully stylish, replete with inventive steampunk iconography and fantastical characters in a stunning polar setting.” —Eric BrownThe Guardian

“Aurorarama mesmerizes…” —Erik MorseBookforum

“Aurorarama is perhaps what Jules Verne would write if woken from the dead and offered a dose of mushrooms.” —Jacob SilvermanThe National