Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: The Diamond Conspiracy

The Diamond Conspiracy (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences - Book 4) by Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris

Publication Date: 03/31/2015
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Ace
Genre: Steampunk
Pages: 368

(Received for an honest review from Ace)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, itunes

Philippa Ballantine on the WEB: websitetwitter, facebook, goodreads

Tee Morris on the WEB: website, twitter, facebook, goodreads

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences website

Books in the series

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

1. Phoenix Rising
2. The Janus Affair
3. Dawn's Early Light
4. The Diamond Conspiracy

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.

Excerpt from, The Diamond Conspiracy, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


For years, the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences has enjoyed the favor of Her Majesty the Queen. But even the oldest loyalties can turn in a moment…

Having narrowly escaped the electrifying machinations of Thomas Edison, Books and Braun are looking forward to a relaxing and possibly romantic voyage home. But when Braun’s emergency signal goes off, all thoughts of recreation vanish. Braun’s street-wise team of child informants, the Ministry Seven, is in grave peril, and Books and Braun must return to England immediately.

But when the intrepid agents finally arrive in London, the situation is even more dire than they imagined. The Ministry has been disavowed, and the Department of Imperial Inconveniences has been called in to decommission its agents in a most deadly fashion. The plan reeks of the Maestro’s dastardly scheming. Only, this time, he has a dangerous new ally—a duplicitous doctor whose pernicious poisons have infected the highest levels of society, reaching even the Queen herself..


The Diamond Conspiracy is the fourth book in The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. This is really great steampunk writing. Readers who love the genre, not only get an alternative London in this series, but also some great cameos from political and literary notoriety. Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris blend remarkably well in their writing style and give readers a very cohesive and fun story. A great addition to the series!

Steampunk isn't for everyone, but if you like it and understand it, this is a great series. The concepts that make up the steampunk genre are on center stage here. Readers get to learn about a lot of interesting steampunk gadgetry and experience an alternative to the London they know and love. One that is more sinister and more entertaining. There is an element of fun about this series that pervades it, but it also has those dark undertones that make you feel all creepy at times.... love that feeling in a book!

Books and Braun are back with another adventure in this addition of the series. They are just learning how to deal with their new found relationship status. In the last book, they decided to stop fighting their attraction and just go for it. I love them as a couple, but I wondered if it would take anything away from how they worked together. I shouldn't have worried Ballantine and Morris, made it seem natural and it was fun. I liked how they weren't sure what to make of it. LOL.

I absolutely loved learning more about Wellington's past. He tends to remind me of an eccentric Sherlock Holmes at times and I wanted to know more about him. I was really captivated by this part of the book. He is an archivist... not exactly the kind of person you would pick to be a crack shot with a rifle. We know that his childhood was not the best, but we learn so much more that explains why he is how he is here. Just great writing. I can also tell that it will play a big part in future books.

Eliza was, as usual, a joy to read about. I enjoy her intelligence and her savvy intuitiveness. The Ministry of Seven, the child informants that Eliza counts on, has gotten themselves into a mess and it's up to Braun and Books to save them... and the entire empire. I love the large scope of these books. It's always do or due. Save the cheerleader, save the world kind of stuff. It gives each adventure an epic feel. I think that's what I love most about steampunk.

Bottom Line:

This is another great book in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurences series. I really enjoy steampunk so it was right up my alley. Why do I love it? Because it's not paranormal... it's not exactly romance... it's not really a mystery... it's new and different and oh so very refreshing. I think Ballantine and Morris understand what readers of steampunk novels want and they show it here. Strange gadgets, Victorian London turned upside down and some amazing characters. Loved this one!

The Diamond Conspiracy is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Authors:

Philippa BallantineNew Zealand born fantasy writer and podcaster Philippa (Pip) Ballantine is the author of the Books of the Order and the Shifted World series. She is also the co-author with her husband Tee Morris of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences novels. Her awards include an Airship, a Parsec, the Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice, and a Sir Julius Vogel. She currently resides in Manassas, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and a furry clowder of cats

Tee Morris: Tee Morris began his writing career with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. Tee then released in 2004 The Case of The Singing Sword: A Billibub Baddings Mystery which was earned him honors from ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards. It was in 2005 when his idea -- podcasting a novel -- established him as a pioneer in the Social Media movement, becoming the first author to podcast a book in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of (with Evo Terra and Chris Miller), the premier site for podcast literature. 

Tee took his collaboration with Evo Terra to print in Podcasting for Dummies (featuring Chuck Tomasi in the Second Edition), and penned other social media titles including All a Twitter (Que Publishing) and Sams Teach Yourself Twitter in 10 Minutes (Pearson Education). Other non-fiction titles Tee has contributed to include BenBella Books's Farscape Forever: Sex, Drugs, and Killer Muppets, the Complete Guide to Writing fantasy series from Dragon Moon Press, and BenBella Books' So Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

In 2011 Tee Morris returned to his first love -- fiction -- alongside his wife, Pip Ballantine, with Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (Harper Voyager). This title went on to win the 2011 Airship Award for Best Steampunk Literature, and was a finalist (the only steampunk to make the final round in any category) for Goodread's Choice Awards under Best Science Fiction of 2011. 2012 saw the release of The Janus Affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (Harper Voyager). The sequel was also a finalist in Goodreads' Choice Awards Best Science Fiction of 2012, and went on to win Steampunk Chronicle's Readers Choice of 2012 for Best Steampunk Literature. In 2013, their companion podcast Tales from the Archives received a Parsec Award for Best Podcast Anthology. Also in that year, Tee and Pip successfully funded via Kickstarter the anthology Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences and The Ministry Initiative, a FATE-core RPG from Galileo Games. 2014 will see the release of Dawn's Early Light: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel (Ace Books). 

He can still be heard podcasting short fiction with Tales from the Archives, and alongside Pip on The Shared Desk at Find out more about his work and his life at and

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