Author: Meljean Brook
Publication: Berkley Trade; Original edition (October 5, 2010)
Description: First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.
After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power-and fear-of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.
But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.
My Thoughts: I enjoyed this steampunk story. The setting was an alternate England that has recently overthrown the Horde. The Horde had controlled life for over 200 years. The people in England had been infected with nanos that allowed the Horde to control them. They didn't feel emotions; they didn't know when the Horde might cause a Frenzy of sexual activity. Now, with the Horde gone, they are relearning how to deal with emotions and trying to rebuild their society and economy.
Mina Wentworth is a Detective Inspector who investigates the various crimes that the new emotions cause. She is also the product of a Frenzy and half-Horde. The hatred of the Horde has caused her to face major prejudice and even danger. It has also convinced her that her behavior has to be above reproach and that she must always be alone. Her family are extremely important to her because they accept her as she is. She doesn't want to do anything to harm their reputation.
Rhys Trahearn was a pirate and is now known as the savior of England because he is the one who brought down the Horde. He had a very difficult childhood and youth as he was sold as a slave as a child and captured by pirates as a youth. He rose to be captain of the pirate ship and, though a hero to the people, is a villain to the British Navy. He doesn't know anything about families or personal relationships because he hasn't had any.
These two unlikely romantic characters meet when Mina is sent to investigate a body found on Trahearn's front porch. The relatively simple case leads to a deep-seated conspiracy to kill everyone with nanos. Mina and Rhys travel to Europe and Africa to try to unravel the conspiracy before the conspirators succeed in their evil plot. Along the way, they learn more about each other and, very reluctantly on Mina's part, fall in love.
This was an excellent story with incredible world building. I recommend it to lovers of steampunk and romance.
He focused on the inspector, instead, even though she didn't want him watching her. But Rhys liked the way she looked, particularly when her expression suggested that she'd prefer to have a gun aimed at his head than sit across from him in a private railcar.