Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire

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Pub Date Sep 08 2020 | Archive Date Aug 10 2020

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An ex-Spitfire pilot is dragged into a race against a shadowy government agency to unlock the secrets of the lost empire of Atlantis...

In post-war 1952, the good guys are supposed to have won. But not everything is as it seems when ex-Spitfire pilot Captain Samantha Moxley is dragged into a fight against the shadowy US government agency she used to work for. Now, with former Nazis and otherworldly monsters on her trail, Captain Moxley is forced into protecting her archaeologist sister in a race to retrieve two ancient keys that will unlock the secrets of a long-lost empire - to ensure a civilisation-destroying weapon doesn't fall into the wrong hands. But what will she have to sacrifice to save the world?

File Under: Fantasy  [ Top Women | Riff-RAF | Pyramid Scheme | Bash the Fash ]
An ex-Spitfire pilot is dragged into a race against a shadowy government agency to unlock the secrets of the lost empire of Atlantis...

In post-war 1952, the good guys are supposed to have won. But...

Advance Praise

“Dan manages to successfully blend a seriously impressive writing style with a vivid imagination and colourful prose... a serious creative talent and all-round nice guy. I would unreservedly recommend him to anyone.”

– Andrew Patrick, Former CEO, British Film Commission

"Author Dan Hanks sets his war-weary protagonist on a pulp-paced adventure – cunning traps, ancient maps, and brutal scraps... semi-retired Nazis, aggressive corpses, and family drama. It's a giddy, white-knuckled ride to the very end.” 

– R.W.W. Greene, author of The Light Years

“Dan manages to successfully blend a seriously impressive writing style with a vivid imagination and colourful prose... a serious creative talent and all-round nice guy. I would unreservedly...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780857668721
PRICE $9.99 (USD)

Average rating from 30 members

Featured Reviews

Every so often you find a book that seems to pull from assorted mediums, blending aspects of beloved movies, books and video games into a well-simmered stew of enjoyment. Hanks' debut novel, Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire, is a fun summer blockbuster of a novel that leaves you wanting the ride to continue. With aspects of Evelyn from The Mummy, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones (with at least one wink towards everyone's favorite archeologist) and Dirk Pitt blended into his headstrong protagonist, Hanks has successfully crafted what at first glance would be an easy hammock read. However, he's delved deeper, allowing the characters to be flawed and develop over time, rather than staying as the standard pulp actors from the past. Driven by understandable motivations, Sam and her team encounter troubles and puzzles galore, almost begging for a movie or video game adaptation on the future. Like the pulp novels it evolved from, Hanks' work is fun, brash, and filled with adventure; it's definitely worth the read.

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Start with the love child of Indiana Jones & Amelia Earhart. Mix in ancient Egyptian sites, Nazis, high speed chases across the desert, puzzles, traps, and power-hungry G-men. Add a splash of Atlantis lore. Result, a madcap pulpy adventure guaranteed to leave you breathless and craving the next installment. As much as I enjoyed the premise, it could use a little more development of the characters, and a lot more knowledge of the limits of the human body. Both of those tended to get in the way of my uninhibited enjoyment of the book. But at the end of the day, it was a fun summer read.

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Imagine you’re an woman standing proudly with your husband as you wait for the bus and an Western woman driving a half-damaged bus asks you in Arabic the next bus stop.

That, dear reader, is why you need to get this.

This book has made me reminisnce of the times I used to read modern day thrillers about ancient conspiracies about 21st century experts dealing with ancient problems of the past. Point in hand. The Dirk Pitt Series by Clive Cussler. Andy Mc Dermott with his Andy and Nina Chase series. Steve Berry and his thriller series. In fact most of my reading went into that because I too was determined to find out what was the missing mystery. The missing series. The missing element. For far too long, I have felt that history just doesn’t go deep enough in many cases, and that is still being discovered even today. But the first man to discover Troy ended up destroying much of the city in the first place did he not? I refer to an Extra Credits history video on this.

I am finally glad that this isn’t the 21st century, but this is the 1950s. An unusual choice of setting, but it does make sense. Historically, most of the former German scientists did join America. In that sense, you can then see how Amercia’s growth happened. The 1950s is the birth of a new American Empire to say the least. And that makes for an ideal setting when we’re living in the world of a declining British and French colonial dominion. There are also winds of discontent in French Africa, not to include stirrings in Algeria. Part of my dissertation focused on French colonial rule in Algeria and Vietnam. Then there was the ironic fact although not focused on the review itself, the 1950s was a riveting time after the Axis Powers lost WWII. Former Japanese soliders were helping the Vietnamese against the French (which could explain a large portion of their defeat, as the Japanese themselves used Banzai tactics, hiding and ambush tactics a lot.) This may, or may not be relevant to the review, but I just wanted to draw attention to the fact this could be a primary reason that Dan chose this setting.

For me, I will express my thoughts of why I want more books like this at the end of my review. The fact that Dan related to this Egypt and the history of archaeological excavations dating back to Napoleon’s expedition in Egypt, was a fascinating context. And what a wonderful concept he has used to make the world-building come alive. I did feel that Smith and Sam’s relationshop was under-developed due to the fact that this book could have been a lot longer than it needed to be – and that’s not a bad thing. Likewise, I felt Sam and Jess’s chemistry was superbly built.

I also liked the Nine, but I did feel they were a bit too complicated, and needed more explanation of their goals. I understand their motivations, but I needed a little more apathy in them as an organisational institution so to say. And I can just as well as imagine that this novel would be a riveting Assassin Creed story. It has that good setting and good ambience to give it off. This could be a fascinating graphic novel series that Starz, HBO or Netflix could pick up. The writing is that good. There’s undead Roman Legions (And seriously, why hasn’t anyone made a novel on the undead in Ancient Greek/Roman times, Mesopotamian times?) underneath the catacombs of Paris. There is so much stuff waiting to be discovered.

I can tell you one thing. There is a sore lack of Indiana Jones style mystery and thriller books that combine ancient civilisation and the periods that come after this. This has cinematic value dripping at its every page, every length, and every corner. Lost Empire of Altantis? Count me in. I wanted MORE of this discovery, more of this Altantis stuff. Heck give us more! Dan’s done some solid research, and I would want to see more sequels. I’d love to see some sorta ancient Greek expedition led by Herodotus to discover the secrets of Altantis, except its all happening in the ancient period or something. I can tell Dan was influenced by Indiana Jones and Assassin Creed that there is no doubt about.

Let me be clear. The World of the 1950s gives us a sort of similar experiencing in 2020 except we don’t have that many wars, but more political spats between countries. There’s a lot of events happening in world politics that really gives you a sense of how everything works. This could have well been done in WWII, but it would have become a little tiring. The 1950s is right at the time of the Cold War, where the cracks begin to emerge and we get the full start. This reminds me of the Disney Adapation of Altantis. I want more man. Don’t hestiate, show us more.

I would love to see more novels like this, in the vein of the Ancient World. The Egyptians themselves considered the Altanteans as ancients. Like we do now as with the Ancient Egyptians. I’d love to see a Roman expedition in Ancient Egypt doing the same thing Sam’s doing. Or an Ancient Egyptian expedition to the mysterious lands of Punt in the same style. I crave for more books like this. I really do. Though, that’s my preference as a reader.

Though, this novel is fantastic. There is cinematic marvel dripping at its every page, rip-roaring exploding action with world powers battling for the mysteries of long-lost civilizations. The next sequel could be set when the Persian army disappered in the sands of Egypt. That would be an interesting choice. Regardless, amazing dialogue, description. There’s a lot more to this. I’d put this next to Clive Cussler. Also, thank you for adding in mythology in this. Too many novels in this vein lack it, and I think it needs to be added in.

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If Indiana Jones had been a woman who cut her teeth as a spitfire pilot, and occasionally asked whose museum that artifact belongs in... We would have Samantha Moxley.

After her little sister finds the first key to unlocking an ancient repository of knowledge, a race to prevent the treasures falling into the wrong hands is set in motion. She might not want to be there, but that won't stop Sam Moxley from busting through bad guys in ways that make Lara Croft look little league.

On title along, I thought this was going to be a bit of a ludicrous pulp adventure story - and I was onboard with that. However, once I got going, I could barely put this book down. I enjoyed the characters and the journey I was taken on. There were common tropes, ideas we have seen before and more. It was the style and the detail that carried it all though. I want to know all about Captain Moxley - her adventures before the novel as well. This book reads quickly and had a cinematic scope (if Netflix picks it up, I will be there bingeing it). This is a fantastic debut, and I can't wait to read more from Dan Hanks.

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Move over Indiana, Captain Moxley is in town.

Just give me a minute to catch my breath..., ..., ... That was one hell of a ride. This is a fast-paced book that doesn’t give you a second to process your feelings or recover from one action-packed event to the next which I believe is very intentional in putting you in Captain Moxley’s shoes. This allows the reader to experience exactly what our protagonist does throughout the journey. We feel every punch, kick and crash.

Dan Hanks creates a thunderously pulpy adventure with his debut. We join Captain Samantha Moxley in her gritty effort to reach a coveted treasure before a team of government agents. Along the way, they must travel the globe to unlock the puzzles and face numerous elaborate booby traps. Now I know that this is a tried and tested trope that some are exhausted with however Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire doesn’t feel like a story trying to convert these haters. It feels very much like a story aimed at the lovers of pulp adventure. Giving us lovers of the trope a chance to bask in all its gloriousness and revel in its triumph.

Our protagonist, Captain Samantha Moxley, is a headstrong adventurer that doesn’t know when to quit. She just keeps going no matter the odds. Samantha is joined on her quest by her sister, Jess, that is equally driven and strives to show her sister exactly what she is made of. Family dynamics are a big part of this story and we get to see true human nature when it comes to how far we will go to protect the ones we love. Dan Hanks gives us a fantastic character line up which we can easily relate in some fashion to all of them. Even the team of corrupt government agents have a little relatability to them. Although not too much as they have Nazis amongst their ranks.

One thing I wanted more of was the Captains back story. I feel the reader is a little teased at the beginning of the book with a glimpse to Captains Moxley’s background and her time as a Spitfire pilot. This really struck a chord with me and I was left a little deflated that I didn’t get more. This is more than made up for with the beautiful world the author creates. We get to see several areas of the world and the areas are described with such detail that even the most unimaginative amongst us can't help but feel right there with Moxley and the team.

If you are a lover of pulp adventure with overly elaborate booby traps like me then I would highly recommend Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire to you. You will love it and if not then I will personally buy you a coffee for your trouble*. A fan of Indiana Jones and need to itch that scratch? Then get this book. It has everything you need to satisfy you. However, if overly elaborate booby traps are too far fetched for you then give this one a miss. There is a lot and they don’t stop coming. However, I loved it and any fan of the genre will. It has my guarantee.

*No I won't, this is a blatant lie that I have no intentions on fulfilling.

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Interesting! A fun retread of some of our favorite action/adventure tropes. Very fun and very escapist. Read for a great time!

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Quite possibly the only thing I don’t like about this book is the title, it’s just sounds too much of B movie title and this book is not B movie quality, it’s fun, fast paced, exciting, sad, it has tension and angst and was a jolly good read!

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This was an amazingly fun book, to start! This is the story of Captain Samantha Moxley. Sam was a pilot during the war, then went on to work for a shady US government agency. The war is over and she’s left the shady agency business, but things have a way of catching up with her. Her sister Jess has found an amazing relic, and the shady agency is after it. Sam will do anything it takes to protect her sister as she finds the relic’s twin in the hopes of unlocking untold historical knowledge. Cue shenanigans.

This book was an absolute thrillride from start to finish, I have to say It’s really fast-paced, full of action and intrigue, and I ended up reading almost all of it in one sitting. I really liked Sam as a character. She’s snarky, clever, and foul mouthed: all things that I love in a main character. I started off thinking that I wasn’t going to like Sam’s sister Jess, but I ended up really liking her as well, along with her boyfriend Will. It’s rare that I really like all of the protagonists in a book with more than 2 of them, but this is an example of a book where I liked all of them.

This book felt very cinematic, and so it can of course be compared to cinema. Mostly Indiana Jones and The Mummy, I think. The whole archaeologists-having-insane-adventures vibe is 100% there. They’re the obvious comparisons here. Personally, if we’re comparing this book to movies, I’d say it’s something along the lines of Indiana Jones with a huge helping of Tomb Raider meets The Mummy with a bit of Men in Black, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and The Matrix sprinkled on top. You’re either like ‘holy shit that sounds awesome!’ or ‘JFC what is wrong with you?’ right now, and I can totally understand both points of view (still… awesome tho, amirite?).

So, all told, if you’re looking for a fast paced archaeological thrillride reminiscent of pulp novels then this is your book right here.

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Take the pulp adventures of Indiana Jones, add in some Stargate sci-fi flourishes, put a kickass woman at the forefront, and you’ve got Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire. It’s everything you’d expect of the concept, a thoroughly engaging roller coaster of a ride, but one distinguished by surprising cynicism and moral quandaries.

For a debut novelist, Dan Hanks has the imagination, narrative style, and storytelling prowess of somehow far more well-established. There was nary an awkward moment or questionable passage in the read. If I’d have picked this blindly off a shelf, I’d be wondering what else he’s written, and be immediately looking to catch up on his back catalog. Instead, with an uncomfortably dark, chilling cliff-hanger, all I can do is look forward and wait for the sequel.

On the surface, this is pure pulp, popcorn archaeology. It’s a story that’s full of mysterious artifacts, ancient legends, mind-bending puzzles, and elaborate traps. There are breathtaking moments and death-defying escapes aplenty, especially with the catacombs beneath Paris and the twin Egyptian passages of the climax. Beneath all the fun and frantic pacing, however, there’s some earnest discussion about the moral quandaries of ‘discovering’ artifacts, appropriating the heritage of other cultures, and the need to preserve history. There’s some definite looting and destruction of historical property here, but the characters are aware of that and even troubled by it. That stood out for me.

As for the characters, the reversal of gender roles and gender expectations was a big part of what drew me to the story in the first place. Sam and Jess are in charge . . . they’re at the forefront . . . they’re the driving personalities behind the stories. Teddy and Will are the sidekicks, there to support them and, on more than one occasion, get saved by them. Even Jack, the villainous ex-lover, is more troubled by their past relationship than Sam is, repeatedly putting his team at risk because he can’t rationalize the danger she represents. As for that danger, Sam endures more, suffers more, and survives more than any male action hero I can think of. She’s unstoppable, but also uniquely vulnerable in that she’d walk away from the fame and the glory just to save her family.

Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire was absolutely everything I wanted it to be – and more. The cynicism was a bit of a surprise, and that ending still makes me feel sort of nauseous with dread, but I love that it was bigger and more significant than just a treasure hunt. Highly recommended!

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One time I sat down to eat a meal where everything on the ingredient list was stuff I liked. Chicken, bacon, cheese, onions, and barbecue sauce. Unfortunately when the meal came the end result was disappointing. This is how I would describe this book. Strong female protagonist? Check. Lots of action? Oh yeah. Little comedy thrown in? Yep. Mystery sprinkled throughout? You betcha. But for some reason this book just didn't deliver for me.

Now let me be clear: it wasn't a bad book at all. I actually enjoyed it a fair amount. I just assume because my expectations were so high going into it, it just felt a bit flat to me. The writing is excellent, the pacing is superb, and the characters are wonderful, but there was just something missing.

My biggest complaint which is a small one is that the book felt a bit drawn out. I was waiting for the ending and then I realized I had about 20 more pages to go. Not a big complaint, I admit, but it could've been shortened a bit.

The ending, however, is where this book shines. I love the minor twist at the end which totally opens up a sequel possibility. Would I read another Captain Moxley book? Undoubtedly.

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Fast paced, exciting page-turner that will titillate all who need a good escape. From its first page, Hank’s novel has a life of it’s own that creates those places fantasy/sci-for readers love to go. A new take on a well-known theme. Characters that are essential to the narrative & who become favorites fighting against everyone’s favorite bad guy:: the Shadowy kind. This is one novel you will want to read!

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What a rollicking adventure ride of a book. Featuring a kickass heroine (Sam), fast paced, action scenes coming at you left, right and center. Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire reminiscent of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider the book kept me engaged from beginning to end and was able to read it in a day, highly recommend if your looking for an riotous adventure read.

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This book takes all the good adventure from a Clive Cussler novel, with a dash of an Indiana Jones twist, and a super fierce female character. I love adventure books, and this one is right up there. Captain Moxley is an intriguing character, and it's nice to see a woman-led adventure story. I need this series to continue b/c I need more adventures in my life! Plus, the ending leaves it wide open for more intrigue, and I can't wait.

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Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
NetGalley Rating: 5 stars

An absolutely delightful, action-packed, snark filled, tropey-but-with-some-twists adventure novel! The style of it was very cinematic and kept me engaged the entire time. I was stupidly busy while I was reading this, causing it to be on my currently reading shelf for a month; but I was able to dip in and out of the story with no effort. I remembered everything that had happened previously, and honestly couldn’t wait to get back to it and was disappointed when I didn’t end up having reading time for the day.

The ethical dilemmas that Sam brings up about archaeology, and how she’s still fascinated in the subject because of these issues, was a great counter to the standard adventures of these types where ethics is even more forgone than in the actual field of archaeology itself.

The only reason this isn’t getting 5 stars is that the amount of tropes, while many of them were bent to be newer and more edgy, was just… TOO much. There also seemed to be literally every type of secret passageway and trap and trigger and type of challenge all in one book. And while that certainly made for a rollicking, riveting adventure, it also just seemed too repetitive after a while. That being said, those tropes are still always fun, no matter how overdone they are.

Highly recommended for anyone wanting to read an Indiana Jones/National Treasure-esque novel, who loves badass lady leading characters, and love fast-paced cinematic novel. I will be looking forward to other installments if this becomes a series!

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A fun romp, kick-in the pants story. Indy - you have some serious competition; Captain Samantha Moxely; explorer and supernatural fighter extraordinaire. What do you want - Winged Dragon-men shooting Tommy Guns over the skies of Manhattan, a former SS agent with just a hint of a German accent, a supernaturally powerful Golem being or scary shadow men all working for the USA to uncover powerful treasures for "the good of the country"? How about pick-up trucks with mounted anti-aircraft guns shooting at you, Egyptian pyramids with hidden death traps, or a bridge to a new dimension? This is a Saturday afternoon matinee at its finest or those black white serials with a cliffhanger at the end of each episode. Get and read this book and hold on until the next installment.

Thanks Netgalley and Angry Robot for the opportunity to review this ARC for an unbiased review.

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It was the cover art that initially attracted me to Dan Hank’s debut novel Captain Moxley and the Embers of Empire, published this month by Angry Robot. The incredibly striking and eye-catching piece of art has a wonderfully pulp-like feel to it, evocative of the action-adventure films of the 1980s like Indiana Jones and Star Wars, with just a hint of that post-war noir aesthetic indicted by the latter part of the novel’s title. It immediately grabbed my attention when I was looking through the catalogue on NetGalley, and the back-cover blurb just confirmed my initial interest. You’ve got an ace female Spitfire pilot dragged back into the affairs of the shadowy US government agency she worked with during the Second World War; ex-Nazis and weird monsters in hot pursuit; and an archaeologist sister seeking two mysterious keys that will release an ancient superweapon. It sounded exactly like the sort of rip-roaring adventure I wanted to be a part of, and I was pleasantly surprised to be granted an ARC to review by the publisher.

The novel opens with a short, wartime prologue that sees a group of British soldiers on the beaches of Normandy encounter a group of rather sinister American intelligence agents, seeking out the titular Captain Samantha Moxley in order to acquire her services. It’s a fun little sequence, well-written and deftly making two points for the reader: Captain Moxley is a badass RAF pilot who got shot down and then linked up with the French Resistance; and this mysterious US intelligence agency is not one to be trifled with. Having piqued our curiosity, Hanks then moves the narrative forward to New York in the early 1950s, where Moxley herself makes her first appearance, making short work of an intelligence agent in an attempt to locate her archaeologist sister, apparently kidnapped by the agency. Here we get our first glimpse of the weird, occult technology that Moxley and the Agency known as The Nine utilize, as well as the Agency’s exceedingly long reach as it sends a boat-load of henchmen to try and stop Moxley. Fortunately the good Captain has acquired a seaplane, leading to a thrilling and incredibly cinematic airborne fight sequence as the seaplane flies through the New York cityscape in a bid to escape some demonic creatures unleashed by The Nine.

After a hair-raising fight that sees her just barely escaping with her life, Moxley heads to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and finally locates her headstrong sister; only to find that while The Nine might not have kidnapped Jessica, her younger sibling has nonetheless attracted the Agency’s attention by bringing back a fabled artifact, the Amulet of Isis, from overseas. Following another hair-raising encounter and escape from the museum, Moxley and her sibling flee to Paris and link up with their father, and then embark on a globe-trotting adventure to find the ancient Hall of Records and locate a terrifying, myth-laden super-weapon before The Nine can do so. Along the way, they’ll face fiendishly complex puzzles, deadly traps and complex challenges in order to uncover clues to finding the Hall of Records; all while being pursued by Agent Taylor and his sinister, ex-Nazi right-hand man Agent Smith, who have a seemingly-endless supply of henchman for Moxley fight in fast-paced, stunning action sequences. Hanks seems to delight in pulling Moxley from one ancient and mythology-laden location to another, from the catacombs of Notre Dame to the famous Egyptian Sphinx, and there’s a real flair and energy in his writing, showcasing an imagination that effortlessly sweeps the reader along for the ride until you reach a breath-taking and truly devastating conclusion that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood epic.

There are so many ingredients here that Hanks expertly blends together to create a compelling, action-packed and often surprisingly thought-provoking slice of action-adventure. That captivating narrative is part of it, but Hanks allies it with some excellent characterization, creating a compact but engaging cast of characters that succeed in keeping you invested in the novel as a whole. Moxley herself is a fiery and captivating protagonist, a seriously badass fighter pilot, resistance fighter and intelligence agency with a non-nonsense, bullish personality that you can’t help but admire. The list of accomplishments attributed to her even before the plot begins is deeply impressive, providing no end of possibilities for prequels and further stories, and she also has a fascinating background that Hanks deftly develops over the course of the novel. Her experiences when working with the resistance in France, watching the Third Reich pillage an entire nation’s culture, forced her to take a long, difficult look at the nature of archaeology and ‘discovering’ items to put in a museum. It’s a deeply interesting discourse that gives the narrative additional depth and context, and just one example among many of the novel’s great use of archaeology and mythology and integrating them into the plot, with Hanks making use of common tropes while simultaneously invigorating them, and thereby making them interesting again. Moxley’s sister Jess, an accomplished archaeologist in her own right, and with a complex relationship with her older sister, is another great character – while at first she appears to be nothing more than a way to move the plot forward, Hanks subtly develops her character across the course of the novel until she becomes a fully-fledged secondary protagonist, and someone easy to sympathize with.

The antagonists of Captain Moxley and the Embers of Empire are just as colourful and well-developed as Moxley and her family and friends. The Nine are sufficiently mysterious and powerful to make for a menacing presence in the background, a blend of the resources and firepower of a real-life OSS or CIA with the terrifying addition of a host of occult and demonic weapons they don’t hesitate to unleash to reach their goals. There are some awesome monsters and demonic presences that I really hope get exanded upon in future sequels, and Agents Taylor and Smith are great in the role of dogged, utterly ruthless pursuers. While Hanks turns Smith into a nicely sinister and powerful former Nazi officer, all scars and ze German accent and some unsettling inhuman powers, my favourite was actually Taylor; while initially appearing as nothing more than a man in a suit, his motives slowly come to the fore as the novel progresses, and you can’t help but empathize with him to an extent as he expounds on his hypocritical yet resolute concept of freedom for all, regardless of the cost in achieving that goal.

Captain Moxley and the Embers of Empire really is one of the most accomplished, impressive and enjoyable debut novels I’ve ever read, and a thrilling, pulse-pounding action-adventure novel with some surprising depths to it. While there’s plenty of fast-paced guns-blazing, fists-flying action firmly in the mould of cinematic classics like Indiana Jones, Hanks’ own unique touches and imagination make it stand out as far more than a simple pastiche or pale imitation. A potent blend of occult elements, a sly sense of humour, three-dimensional characters, and an often thoughtful consideration of the nature of mid-20th Century archaeological practices leads to a novel that is far more engaging, memorable and even introspective than Indiana Jones and his ilk could ever hope to be. Hanks remembers the simple thrills to be found in having a henchman thrown through a wooden box or out of a glass window, while also refusing to be constrained by the archetypes and tropes of the genre and setting, resulting in a novel that is a triumph for author and publisher alike. There’s plenty of scope for sequels and prequels with the plot and setting that Hanks has developed, and I fervently hope that Angry Robot will see fit to publish more of his titles. I’d love to see more of Captain Moxley and her badass adventures – but whatever Hanks writes, you can be sure that I’ll be reading and reviewing.

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Want an adventure that reminds you of Indiana Jones mixed with Agent Carter from the Marvel Universe? Well then you are going to love Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire. This book is packed full of action and puzzles and sci-fy in the very best way.

I was provided with an electronic ARC through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Dan Hanks' Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire is the first installment in the authors yet to be named series featuring former Spitfire fighter pilot Captain Samantha Moxley. Think Raiders of the Lost Ark, meets the Mummy, meets Matthew O'Reilly's Jack Jr series with a female lead with all sorts of issues. The story begins on the beaches of Normandy, 1945, where Agents arrive looking for a woman who has been reported missing, presumed dead, but somehow managed to fight with the French resistance against Nazi Germany.

Flash forward to 1952. The war is over, the good guys allegedly won, and she’s left the shady agency working for the Nine. But things have a way of catching up with her. Her sister Jess has found an amazing relic, (Isis amulet) and the shady agency known as the Nine, isn't impressed that Moxley left, is also after it. Sam is used to fighting for her life. She fought her way across occupied France racing Hitler for Europe's paranormal artifacts. The Nine believes in the greater good no matter what. Forget the fact that they recruited former Nazi's to work alongside of them.

Sam, her sister Jessica, who is an archaeologist, Doctor William Sandford, curator of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with Professor Teddy Ascher an expert on all things Egypt, find themselves in an action packed cinematic adventure to see who can get to the ultimate price; Lost Empire of Atlantis. But to start, the Isis Amulet concerns a mythical lost repository of knowledge known as the Hall of Records. The Hall is described as a fortress that is protected by (2) keys, Isis, and Osiris, mother, and father of ancient Egypt.

In order to find keys to Atlantis, Sam and her crew must race against the Nine, who have a former Nazi who now works for the US government, alien monsters and genetically enhanced soldiers all at her heels, a petulant sister who doesn't know what Sam gave up to protect her, from the catacombs of France to the pyramids of Giza. Atlantis has been on the minds of many historians since it was allegedly destroyed by a cataclysm of unprecedented historical proportions. Atlantis was a civilization beyond anything we've ever seen. Vast networks of cities and outposts connected to Atlantis.

Hanks represents Sam as a take-no-nonsense, feisty and strong-willed character, yet she has her weaknesses too, her flaws. Years of fighting have not left her unscathed. Sam’s overprotective nature towards her sister and others, her blinding belief that they aren’t capable of keeping themselves safe and her lack of trust ultimately leads to her unraveling and a heart shattering ending with hopefully will lead to more adventures of Sam and her war against the Nine. Hanks creates characters such as Agent Taylor and Agent Smith to show us the damaging effects of a government who disguise murder, theft, and the drive for absolute power under the notion of it being ‘for the greater good’.

I have to say, this book is like catnip to a reader who goes all in on stories like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, and other cinematic masterpieces. I look forward to the sequel, because, there absolutely must be a sequel after that heart wrenching cliffhanger ending.

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Loved this series and loved this story. I had a lot of fun in reading this fast paced, action packed and highly entertaining story.
I loved this mix of paranormal, action&adventure that kept me hooked and made me turn pages as fast as I could.
The author is a very talented storyteller and you cannot help rooting for Samantha, being happy when she wins and having a lot of fun.
I can't wait to read the next instalment, Atlantis we're coming :)
I strongly recommend it.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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This book was so. Much. Fun. It follows Samantha Moxley as she tries to beat her former employers - a mysterious agency called The Nine - to a set of ancient artifacts that are said to open the gates to Atlantis. Along the way, she picks up her sister Jess, Jess's boyfriend, Will, and an old friend of Sam's, Teddy. They head off on a high stakes adventure to beat the Nine and stop them from getting to whatever those artifacts lead to.

I really enjoyed this book, it's a lot of fun and also addresses colonialist museum practices, questioning why artifacts uncovered in Egypt should be on display in New York. There's also a scene where Sam expresses concern that their group going after the artifacts will only lead the Nine to them, which is something that doesn't typically get talked about in stories like this.

This book is a lot of fun and if you enjoy The Mummy you'll definitely enjoy this!

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Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire is the kind of book that you’re excited to come back to each night. The narrative is fueled by constant, unrelenting action, yielding a story that never lets up as it winds its way through time and a world that’s filled with monsters, both man and beast. It’s a delight to read with its entertaining action sequences and a protagonist whose sheer abilities to fight against evil are an inspiration from start to finish. I couldn’t recommend this book more highly.

The Pulp Feel
I’ve always loved pulp-style novels. They’re packed with action and character work, forcing the reader to race along on an adventure that’s typically reminiscent of Indiana Jones. There’s something about imagining a world like this, stuck in the post-WWII era and its technological limitations. The evils of Nazi Germany are still present, combined with supernatural forces that threaten to destroy the world. That kind of overwhelming conflict keeps you reading well into the night, leaving you with vivid imaginings of the world and its characters.

A Protagonist Worth Reading For
I absolutely love Captain Moxley. She’s a mix between Indiana Jones and MacGyver – no situation is ever too much for her to conquer. She can fly, she can fight, she can outwit any of her foes who imagine themselves to be her equal. She has a deep love for her sister and for right versus wrong. Nothing seems to surprise her, allowing the readers to suspend our disbelief at the many wild events constantly revolving around her. This kind of novel requires a strong protagonist and Hanks has more than succeeded.

Unrelenting Mysteries
Hanks does a great job of packing the book full of past and present mysteries that beg to be solved. We question Moxley’s past and how she became the legend that she is. We question her past involvement with this shadow organization that is clearly bent on destroying everything. We question where these creatures and supernatural forces come from. Above all, we question how one person can save the world from a group of evil people and monsters. There’s never a doubt that a resolution will come, thus building up Moxley’s legend with the turn of each page.

To summarize, Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire is a compelling, action-packed read that is guaranteed to entertain and excite. I loved every page of it and look forward to more works from this talented author.

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It is 1952 and World War II is over, but it's still fresh in people's minds. And when you're an ace fighter pilot who worked privately for a secret branch of the U.S. government, you're now out of work and looking for excitement. Samantha "Sam" Moxley is that fighter pilot - a dominant woman in a male-dominated service. Sam steps up and takes charge when things get tough and she thrives on adventure. Now she realizes that the organization that she once worked for, known as "The Nine," has to be stopped from getting their hands on a special key that leads to the renowned Hall of Records.
Sam pulls together a team to help her because she knows first hand the resources that The Nine have to draw from to get what they want, and right now they want Sam's sister.

It's hard to imagine any reader picking up this book and not making the comparison to Indiana Jones or Benjamin Gates. In fact the book almost relies on the reader being familiar with the action hero stereotype. Knowing the type, we then know how unusual it is for a woman to be in the role and the author doesn't have to work too hard defining the character.

The plot and story are right out of the adventure movie world - stop the bad guys (played by big government) from gaining too much power (because we know that absolute power corrupts absolutely). But there will be obstacles in the way, often with a supernatural bent to them.

Author Danks Hanks cranks up the action and keeps it revving through the entire book. I'm not sure this is good, though.

The action seems to hold steady at an even pace, so it stops feeling exciting. This pace sort of works when you are watching a movie like The Mummy, Tomb Raider, or, yes, Indiana Jones, but in a 370 page book we need a little more character development time with action folding out of the plot, rather than the plot simply being the action.

The supernatural elements that are hinted at are never fully brought to light. Perhaps this is held back as a teaser for further adventures, but it comes across as sloppy writing - a forgotten element left unfinished.

I had really enjoyed another pulp-style action book from publisher Angry Robot a little while back and so looked forward to continuing the trend, but this particular venture doesn't work. I liked the idea and I think I'd like the characters if I got to know them.

Looking for a good book? Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire by Dan Hanks is a recreation of the Indiana Jones adventures with a woman as adventurer protagonist. There's plenty of action but it's not built around a terribly exciting story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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