In the Provincial Union of Victoriana, a steampunk America that lost the Revolutionary War, Charmian "Kit"Kittredge makes her living investigating crimes of magic. While Kit tries to avoid the nobs of high society, she follows mysteries wherever they lead.
Unlike most folks, Kit doesn't believe in magic, but she can't refuse to help Lady Diana Walsh, who claims a curse is viciously wounding her while she sleeps. As Kit investigates the Walsh family, she becomes convinced that the attacks are part of a more ominous plot - one that may involve the lady's obnoxious husband.
Sleuthing in the city of Rumsen is difficult enough, but soon Kit must also skirt the unwanted attentions of a nefarious deathmage and the unwelcome scrutiny of the police chief inspector. Unwilling to surrender to either man's passion for her, Kit struggles to remain independent as she draws closer to the heart of the mystery. For the truth promises to ruin her life - and turn Rumsen into a supernatural battleground from which no one will escape alive.
I loved this book, and I am glad to discover that steampunk is a genre I can really enjoy. Lynn Viehl sure gave her own spin to things, and it was fun to read.
Charmian “Kit” Kittredge is one of those rare females in America, an independent woman with her own business. Imagine an America that is still beholden to England and its rules and Queen. Imagine an America about a century ago, things are still old fashioned but modern technology is making fast progress. Yes, this means steampunk gadgets and some strange words and occupations.
Kit has two very good friends, one who married a rich man and now owns her own dress shop, and the other one who is the madam of the city’s most popular brothel. She doesn’t have any living family left, so she is on her own, without a male protector. A hundred years ago, that would have given any man who wanted her, the excuse to just snatch her off the streets and keep her. And deathmage Lucian Dredmore certainly acts like that is still the case when he takes her home with him to keep her safe from Lord Walsh and his assassins.
Kit does not believe in magic, but magic is very real in this world. She just doesn’t know that she makes it stop working. Kit is a private investigator, and she thinks everything has a logical explanation, and people just believe too much in magic, giving it power. Kit does not like to work on the Hill, where all the rich people live, but when Lady Diana Walsh comes into her office and begs for her help, she cannot refuse the poor woman. Someone is trying to drive her crazy. But going to the Walsh’s house sure is the start of a lot of trouble for Kit. Drawing all kinds of unwanted attention to her door.
I loved the plot, I loved the world building, the main characters, the secondary characters, the writing style, and all the surprises in this story. There are some very creepy characters in here, like Lord Walsh’ son, but the story is filled with action and adventure and an evil plot that needs to be thwarted. I really do not want to spoil anything of the fun and great things I discovered in this book by telling more about it.
Kit does discover she still has a grandfather, kind of. And that was awesome till the very last page of the book, where his original name is revealed. I so want to know more about his long life!
Kit has two suitors, but there really is not a love triangle in sight, don’t worry. The police inspector is someone she knew as a child, and although he really wants her to be his stay at home wife, she is not interested. But the dark death mage, Lucien, well, she is interested in him! I am not sure she can trust him though; he wants to lock her up for her own safety instead of just helping her when she needs him.
I can’t wait to read the second one, which I ordered immediately after reading this one. For some reason my bookbible, fantasticfiction.co.uk, failed me in mentioning this upcoming release, or it would have been pre-ordered months ago.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian