Teslanauts by Matthew Donald (review)

What a rollicking adventure! Teslanauts by Matthew Donald is a fun read, combining retro-scientific innovation, secret organizations, and the search for a missing scientist in the inter-war years of the 1920’s. Detente was reached at the end of the first World War, but teen aged Raymond Calvert soon finds himself part of a secret organization, led by Nikola Tesla himself, fighting clandestine “volt-tech” conflicts.

Reminiscent of old black and white adventure serials, Raymond’s quest to find his father leads to adventure beyond his imagining. As part of a team of Teslanauts, he encounters  friendly foreign volt-tech organizations and joins in the battle against the Oberschock Federation and their daunting weapons such as the destructive Panzerwurm.

If coming of age adventure with retro-futuristic technology with Steampunk feel, though perhaps this is more rightly called something like Voltpunk, that spans the globe from Brooklyn to Europe and beyond, this is quite the fun and fast-paced read that may just leave you impatient for the series to continue. Recommended.

 This review refers to a finished paperback copy that I voluntarily received and read, courtesy of Smith Publicity. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

In 1922, seventeen-year-old Raymond Calvert learns that his father, MIA since the Great War, was part of a secret government agency known as the TESLANAUTS. Led by the great inventor Nikola Tesla, a man who the world had assumed was laying low and in poverty, the organization uses advanced technology called volt-tech, modeled after Tesla’s experiments, which led the way for other volt-tech factions in countries all across the globe. 

After the horrors of the war, these factions have decided to remain in the shadows, with civilians remaining unaware of their existence. Once Raymond is recruited into the Teslanauts, he embarks on an adventure to find what happened to his father, hoping to finally fill that missing piece in his life. However, the remnants of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, through the contributions of a traitorous American benefactor, form a new volt-tech faction called the Oberschock Federation, and plan to enact revenge on the Allied Powers and regain the glory they had lost in the war. Raymond soon learns his father’s disappearance might have involved this aggressive and war-hungry new faction, and he and his new allies must stop them before they enact their plans to restart the war.

TESLANAUTS takes readers around the world in an exciting coming-of-age tale from New York City to Paris, Berchtesgaden, Zurich, Istanbul, and Iceland. For fans of Cherie Priests’ steampunk novels and lighthearted, fun YA books like Percy Jackson, this rollicking, adventurous science fiction-fantasy book will have you on the edge of your seat.


About the Author

After first winning a writing contest at age six, Matthew Donald made it his lifelong goal to write a bunch of books and release them upon the world. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2014 with a B.A. in English and Creative Writing, and he has published three sequels to Megazoic among some other projects. Teslanauts is his first steampunk, fantasy book and he is working on sequels. He lives in Centennial, Colorado with his cockatiel, Lyra.

Teslanauts by Matthew Donald (Teslanauts, book 1) | Lyra Publishing, August 16, 2022 | paperback, 452 pages