The Great Eastern

A sprawling adventure pitting two of literature’s most iconic anti-heroes against each other: Captain Nemo and Captain Ahab. Caught between them: real-life British engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the century’s greatest ship, The Great Eastern. But when he’s kidnapped by Nemo to help design a submarine with which to fight the laying of the Translatlantic cable – linking the two colonialist forces Nemo hates, England and the US – Brunel finds himself going up against his own ship, and the strange man hired to protect it, Captain Ahab, in a battle for the soul of the 19th century.


Head to the author’s website to see some some of the fascinating tidbits that went into writing The Great Eastern.


Learn about (and listen to) the music featured in The Great Eastern, as well as some of the music that inspired its creation.

Howard A. Rodman is Past President of the Writers Guild of America West; a professor of screenwriting at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts; and an artistic director of the Sundance Screenwriting Labs. Among his screenwriting credits, he wrote SAVAGE GRACE, starring Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, and AUGUST, featuring Josh Hartnett, Naomie Harris, Rip Torn, and David Bowie. He also wrote JOE GOULD’S SECRET, the opening night film of the Sundance Film Festival. Rodman’s previous novel, DESTINY EXPRESS, was set in the pre-War German filmmaking community: Thomas Pynchon called it “daringly imagined, darkly romantic–a moral thriller.”

“Three cheers for Howard Rodman’s ripping steampunk adventure, The Great Eastern!  Outrageous linguistic brio gives pleasure line by line, while the story, an epic battle between two 19th century archvillians—Captain Nemo and Captain Ahab—keeps the pages flying. A tour de force fantasy where science meets human obsession.” –Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander

”It’s like twelve of your favorite movies all at once—in full Sensurround.” —Jonathan Lethem

”An absolutely ingenious premise propels this audacious adventure into surprising and thrilling territory, where history twists and braids itself like the transatlantic cable at the heart of this epic narrative. A ready-made binge-read!” —Steven Soderbergh

”Howard Rodman’s The Great Eastern is a book of confabulations, real and imagined. Surprises on every page. A splendid and notable achievement.” —Ricky Jay

”This is the sort of thing that readers of China Mieville or Alan Moore or Eleanor Catton should gobble up. A historical phantasmagoria and ripping adventure done as a game of hide-and-seek.” —Jonathan Lethem

”A helluva great story.” —Jake Gyllenhaal

”A weird and wondrous adventure, chock-full of rich, commanding prose detailing the clash between arrogant geniuses of considerable ego, and the historical ripples such a clash imparts.” —Chuck Wendig

”Not another scrivener alive or dead but Rodman—lyrical and witty, erudite and passionate, dare we say rapturous, dare we say obsessed—could have charted let alone helmed this singular, exhilarating Flying Dutchman of an epic.” —Steve Erickson