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British secret agent Brian Finch-Malloy (described by one reviewer as "a 1920s James Bond") was introduced in Beneath Gray Skies, set in an alternate history where the American Civil War never happened. Red Wheels Turning takes place in the same historical timeline, and features some of the same characters. With a backdrop of Tsarist Russia prior to the events described in Beneath Gray Skies, Red Wheels Turning once more mixes real historical characters with fictional characters and events in a an entertaining adventure featuring two of the most extraordinary weapons ever developed – the massive "Netopyr" and the rail cruiser "Zaamurets". Finch-Malloy battles against the maniacal gangster-turned-Bolshevik revolutionary Kolinski in a contest of wits to determine who will have control of these incredible machines.

Described by readers as "a ripping yarn" and a "page-turner", Red Wheels Turning continues the tradition of high adventure, espionage and treachery, mixed with steampunk-like technology in a genre best described as "steampulp". Ashton's writing in Beneath Gray Skies has been characterized as "well-written with a brilliant story", "a delightful romp through what it terms "a past that never happened."" and "a remarkable alternate history novel".

From Christopher Belton, author of Isolation and Crime sans Frontières: "Red Wheels Turning provides fans of Beneath Gray Skies with another opportunity to meet up with an old favorite; Brian Finch-Malloy. An impeccably crafted tale exuding volumes of World War I's black-and-white atmosphere in vibrant technicolor. Hugh Ashton's careful attention to detail pulls the reader into the story from page one and then steps on the accelerator. A riveting plot wrapped up in a firm coating of history, with good guys to root for and bad guys to despise. A thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish."

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