Anti-Ice (1993)

Backcover Synopsis: 1870: the power of the British Empire is supreme. The principles of Enhanced Conductance which are utilized by anti-ice have supercharged the Industrial Revolution. At the New Great Exhibition in Manchester, Ned Vicars, a young attache at the Foreign Office, meets the discoverer of anti-ice, Sir Josiah Traveller – and the beautiful Francoise. His fate is doubly sealed. Before he learns the truth about Francois, Ned must survive an unscheduled trip to the Moon and back. But by then the world has gone mad. The only certainty is war… and anti-ice is the most powerful weapon humanity has ever possessed.

A steampunk novel done well. There’s nothing really wrong with the book, it’s competent and intriguing, it’s just that a tiny bit is missing to real greatness. And I’m not sure what that tiny bit is. I still enjoyed reading the book. Despite the mean ending, the book was fun to read, and showed that Baxter had no problems when writing something quite different from his common far future SF.