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The Third Uncle by Stephen Beifuss

Posted on Friday, April 10, 2015 in Books, Fantasy, Reviews

A while back, I finished reading The Third Uncle by Stephen Beifuss, on Wattpad.

“Francesca is a headstrong teen from small town Italy who has been sent to summer with her uncles in Napoleon’s Paris.  Francesca is bored. Her uncles are tiresome, not very bright, and determined to keep her out of trouble. Fortunately for her, adventure is around the corner, and she soon discovers her uncles are working against the French, and with the help of an enchanted mirror, two cats, a young thief, a dead saint and a Queen determined to remove Napoleon from his throne, a dull summer becomes anything but!”

This story was a nice surprise compared to what I usually find on Wattpad. Sure, I’ve found a few stories I’ve loved, but I’ve also found a lot that felt – not quite ready for publication – if you know what I mean.

The Third Uncle is what I’d call ‘alternate history’ fantasy. In this world, Napoleon defeated the English and occupied, not only the European Continent but also the UK. It also seems to be a bit steampunk. People are travelling on airships. There’s also a bit of magic. There’s time travel, or at least time travel is of interest in the story.

I don’t have any particular favorites among the characters, except perhaps the ‘young thief’, who turns out to be a charming young man, with a dark past, but they’re all interesting and/or funny. The uncles are a lot of fun, the cats are adorable, and in some ways, very useful to a certain mode of travel.

I’m looking forward to seeing this book published as a ‘real’ book. The author lives in Spain (slightly confusingly, since his name either evokes English or American origins or possibly a German one. However, in the story, he seems to be quite knowledgeable, not only in English, but also in French and Italian. Oh, well. This is a funny, fascinating, magical story, that takes a twisting turn around Europe, then finally ends mostly happily (I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler?):

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