Before people figured out anaesthetics (still a very tricky art in 2015), surgery was all about speed. A “good” surgeon could amputate a limb in under thirty seconds. Yay?

Right now I’m working on another steampunk interactive tale – which will be free once it’s done. The above article was excellent for my research. Luckily for my protagonist, his story begins in 1854 – so chloroform is in common use. Unluckily, the real historical figure upon which the protagonist is based was on the run at the time of his amputation, so he was awake the entire time.

Peter Lalor is that protagonist, by the way. How could I resist writing about such a fascinating individual, who took centre stage more than once in crucial moments of Australian history – and who had an arm lopped off at a point that can only be described as “terribly inconvenient for him, but excellent for steampunk writers with a penchant for attaching mechanical limbs to people”?


Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

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