Type: M/M, Steampunk Romance
ARC supplied by the author
Available NOW at Amazon
~~~~~book description ~~~~~
Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….
Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.
Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?
When I was much younger, I was fascinated by everything Egyptian. I grabbed every book with a sphinx or pyramid on the cover, every book with a mention of archeologists or Egyptologists in the blurb. It wasn’t that I was so interested in ancient Egyptian history, but the characters who would put their lives in danger to face down the curses and plagues and dangers facing those who dared to dig in ancient places. At some point, when I had consumed many, many books, some of them not that good, that I finally moved on. Anna Butler, with her steampunk enhanced story has brought back every bit of my fascination.
Since I have gotten through my initial OMG reaction to my first steampunk novel in book one of this series, The Gilded Scarab, I can concentrate on this incredible story. After some manipulation, not by Rafe, he has the opportunity to become Ned’s pilot and spend the winter with him and his team in Egypt. Rafe and Ned are both delighted not to be separated for months, although Rafe is a bit worried about leaving his coffeehouse. He is even more worried when he learns that Ned’s six year old son, Harry, will be going with them. Rafe isn’t much interested in kids, knows nothing about them and fears he will be an unwelcome interference. The kid also brings his dog, Molly.
Strange things start to happen almost immediately. Most of the odd and unexpected occurrences happen to the villagers who live near the dig and have been employed by Ned to assist with the excavation. While those things are bad and costly to the villagers, there was no immediate threat to Ned and his team. However, Ms. Butler has drawn the villagers so well, that their pain was tangible. Darn, I can’t say much else without getting into some serious spoilers. I will say that it doesn’t stop there and pretty much everyone finds themselves in danger at different times. I’ll move on.
Rafe’s relationship with Ned has blossomed since they first began to connect in book one. As I mentioned in my review of book one, The Gilded Scarab, there are a few fairly explicit sex scenes. The sex is handled with tenderness between two men who truly love each other, and rivals the best sex scenes in all of fiction. Rafe and Ned’s relationship includes sex, but is so much more.
“I’d never had this before, the sort of relationship and companionship where sex wasn’t the be-all and end-all of it. Sex wasn’t what loving Ned meant. This was. This quietness, this contentment, knowing that it was Ned’s hand gentling me into sleep, Ned’s breath stirring my hair, Ned’s warm arms enfolding me”.
That’s so sigh worthy, and just a small sample of a beautifully written love story that is bursting with style and talent. This story is so good, so well done that adequate words are hard to find. By the way, both Rafe and I fell completely in love with Harry and his little dog, Molly. I think you will, too! Pick up a copy and…