Title: Phoenix Rising
Author: Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Publisher: HarperCollins (Voyager Imprint)
These are dark days indeed in Victoria’s England. Londoners are vanishing, then reappearing, washing up as corpses on the banks of the Thames, drained of blood and bone. Yet the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences– the Crown’s clandestine organization whose bailiwick is the strange and unsettling — will not allow its agents to investigate. Fearless and exceedingly lovely Eliza D. Braun, however, with her bulletproof corset and a disturbing fondness for dynamite, refuses to let the matter rest. . .and she’s prepared to drag her timorous new partner, Wellington Books, along with her into the perilous fray.
For a malevolent brotherhood is operating in the deepening London shadows, intent upon the enslavement of all Britons. And Books and Braun — he with his encyclopedic brain and she with her remarkable devices — must get to the twisted roots of a most nefarious plot . . .or see England fall to the Phoenix!
This was my introduction to recent steampunk. I had to smile at the pun of the main characters’ surnames. They fit the characters personalities and interests. I rather liked Book and Braun and was rooting for them to solve the case. They balance one another.
The plot was action-packed. My only complaint is villain related. A villain was introduced and then disappeared for most of the book only to return at the end. It’s almost as though Ballantine and Morris had him as a forgotten subplot but plan to use him as the main villain in the second book in the series.