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   Esprit de Corpse


(Advance Review Blurbs)




and romance.
All the ingredients
a reader needs for a
action-packed adventure.”

“A wild, steampunky adventure with laugh-out-loud moments and a perfect set of heroines. Hold on and enjoy the ride!”

~ Gregory Frost, author of Rhymer and Shadowbridge

“A rollicking steampunky romp through post-Revolution France. Most delectable!”

~ Tiffany Trent, author of The Unnaturalists

“A meticulously-built world awaits readers in this delightful steampunk mystery.”

~ A.C. Wise, author of Wendy, Darling and Hooked

“A truly delicious story. Deal confidently establishes her world and characters with small historical details and revealing turns of phrase, and leads you through the story’s twists to a satisfying end. *Chef’s kiss!*”

~ Miriam Seidel, author of The Speed of Clouds.

“A fun steampunk adventure that fans of Indiana Jones are sure to love.”

~ John L. French, award-winning author

"A delightful romp suffused in period details with two irresistible lead characters. Great for readers who love steampunk, are Francophiles, strong women with amazing talents, or just who love a ripping yarn of a tale." ~ Randee Dawn, author of Tune In Tomorrow.

What a beautifully written, action-packed story! From the very first chapter, novelist Ef Deal hooks the reader with an imaginative work of steampunk set in 19th century France. The cast of characters includes an automaton powered by a most unlikely source, an artistically inclined shapeshifter, and a brilliant young protagonist (literally a genius) who’s unafraid to get her hands dirty. I cannot imagine how much research Ms. Deal did to write this lush, expansive, and finely detailed book—science, geography, history, etc.—but her efforts show on each page. I am more in awe of the author’s imagination in building the world in which her characters live, love, fight, and die. A mysterious skull, necromancy, catacombs—what more could a reader want? While this is the kind of novel I would gladly return to, and I’m sure I will, I am tickled to hear that it is merely the first in a series.

William J. Donahue, author of Burn, Beautiful Soul ; editor of Neshaminy:  The Bucks County Historical and Literary Journal

Read the exclusive interview with
Paul Semel

Ef Deal sm.jpg


"One of the masterful things accomplished by Esprit de Corpse is the commentary provided on traditional ideas about female autonomy and women’s possession of their own body. Trigger warning, the book does deal largely with themes of sexual assault and rape, offering a unique view and imagery of how it can effect both the body, the survivor, and family members of survivors. Note, the way this material is handled in the novel may be disturbing to some readers, but the ultimate message of how it can change a person is not to be overlooked. However uncomfortable the topic may be in the novel, it is worth noting that some may agree with the unorthodox and even uncomfortable opinions held by characters- opinions that some survivors may side with. The book also works to provide views of how many women working in predominantly male-led fields may feel in trying to forge paths of their own.

Ultimately though, the book does work to find coalition and common ground between good people- women and men alike- all fighting to stop a common evil and bring peace back to their home. By the end, families both unite and grow. Through pain, hardship, and bravery, the book does end with a fulfilling resolution- completed with even a few good and unpredictable twists. Unity is a word that captures the message of the book, as well as best conveys the real spirit behind Esprit de Corpse."

                                                              ~ Ann Huber

Philadelphia Stories


          When a guy like Czesko

          says he wants to get 

          baptized, you know it's

          going to be a weird night.


published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, March 2006 ~

Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Science Fiction: 24th Annual Collection

"Like David Gerrold's tour-de-force novelette thirteen oclock, which appeared in last months F&SF, Czesko is driven by its urgent, casual, and utterly unique narrative voice. In this case, its a small-time drug dealer who must figure out how to kill his already-dead friend. The fantastical blurring of life and death seems entirely believable when told in the unintentionally deadpan (pun intended) tone of a blue-collar criminal. Hearkening back to all those folk tales about deals with the Devil, Deal puts a modern, intelligent, compulsively readable spin on the story with an exquisitely mordant punchline for an ending." ~ 

Tangent short fiction review

F&SF March 2006

"I was really drawn into the story simply by the voice of the narrator." ~ Paul Abbamondi

" 'Czesko' by Ef Deal is a wild tale of a man who wants to be baptized even though he's dead. Then, the story gets very strange." ~ SFRevu Review

"...of the best stories published in F&SF  in 2006...'Czesko' by Ef Deal -- Very funny and macabre. It felt as if Robert Bloch had dictated this one from the grave."

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