Finished this and throughly enjoyed it.
Stuck a review on Amazon but apparently it takes a few days to go through so here's the blurb.
Stephem Palmer’s latest literary offering expands the steampunk universe of the Factory Girl trilogy and the life of our hero Erasmus Darwin who, like so many of his generation, finds himself embroiled in The Great War of 1914. But, of course, this is a different war to the one that history teaches us. This is a war in which the opposing cultures are supported by clockwork automata, not least of which are the Duloids – mechanisms that not only resemble humans in form but believe themselves to be human at least in spirit. It is within this setting that Erasmus and his companions take part in an adventure that will lead them far behind enemy lines and where they will learn as much about themselves as the secret world they unearth.
Of course, this being a Stephen Palmer novel, there’s a little more to it than that. As is his style, he employs his imaginary world to explore themes that resonate with us today. It is well written with a language in a manner befitting the Edwardian/Georgian eras, but not so much as to make it unreadable. It also has a reasonable mixture of exciting exploits and moments of revelation.
If you fancy something a little different in terms of fantasy, you could do a lot worse than give this book a try. It’s refreshingly unusual and, in that sense, Palmer is probably closer in mindset to Lewis Carroll than GRR Martin.
Note: It’s not absolutely necessary to read the Factory Girl trilogy before reading The Conscientious Objector but I would advise it for the greater clarity it would bring to the reader.