Now – as chatter on the “voicepipe” and messages through the “pneumail” suggest – a party of revolutionary democrats stands poised to win the first-ever free elections in France and its great metropolis, Paris or “Grandville”. Yet a gang of bloated plutocrats, led by the monstrously rich Baron Krapaud, plots to thwart reform and restore the Napoleons. The animal elite has even recruited smart scientists from the despised human underclass – the “doughfaces” – to perfect the technology of automata (air- and steam-powered, like everything else in this parallel world) and use them to crush the masses.
Soon, leading Parisian artists of a democratic bent – first Gustave Corbeau, then Auguste Rodent – die mysterious deaths. London may still be an ex-colonial backwater, but it does sport the continent’s most illustrious detective: Inspector LeBrock of the Cour D’Ecosse. In tandem with his trusty sidekick Sergeant Roderick Ratzi, he crosses the Manche