Author: Kate Cross
Series: A Novel of the Clockwork Agents (Book 1)
Publication: Signet (May 1, 2012)
Description: Arden is an undercover agent for one of the most powerful organizations of this steam powered world—the Wardens of the Realm—a group with extraordinary abilities, dedicated to protecting England against evil.
Arden Grey enjoys a life most women in 1898 London can’t even dream of: She has the social status, wealth, and independence of a countess. She also has the ability to witness the final moments of a murder victim’s life. But ever since the disappearance of her husband, Lucas, none of this means anything to her. Until one night, when Arden spies a man watching her—a man she recognizes as her missing husband.
He’s been ordered to assassinate Arden as retribution for her part in the killing of a Company agent. Luke remembers nothing of his life before the Company, a corrupt agency that has erased his memory. Even so, he can't seem to complete his assignment. There is something familiar about his lovely target, something that attracts him, and fills him with dread. For he knows that if he doesn’t kill her, someone else will—and kill him as well.
My Thoughts: Arden Grey has been dealing with the disappearance of her husband seven years earlier by drinking too much, working as an agent for W.O.R., and inventing a number of gadgets. She also assists Scotland Yard in tracking down murderers by using an invention that lets her see what the victim saw just before they died.
When an assassin comes to kill her in retribution for her killing one of the Company's agents, she is surprised to find that it is her lost husband. The Company had captured him, reinforced his bones, and wiped out his memories of the past. However, something stops him from killing her and the old memories start coming back.
Luke is recaptured by Arden and other members of W.O.R. who manage to cut his ties to the Company. But his memories are spotty. He doesn't remember much about his wife or his past. Now he has to protect the wife he barely remembers but still really wants from the Company who still wants her dead. Of course, they want him dead too before he can reveal their secrets.
I liked all the steampunk gadgets in this story set in Victorian time. I also liked the relationship between Arden and Luke. With Arden's memories of the past and her resentment of Luke's need to put his work ahead of his wife and Luke's lack of memory, both of them need to get to know each other again while keeping each other alive.
This was a great story once I got into it. I did think that the first fifty pages were kind of slow until I got up to speed on the characters and the setting. Fans of steampunk won't want to miss this entertaining series.
"She smelled of incense," Luke said, frowning. "The kind they use in the opium brothels."I bought this book on May 1, 2012. You can buy your copy here.
"Sandalwood," Alistair replied. "It's a stretch, but it could be she's hiding out in one of them."
"Or it could be that she likes sandalwood," Arden commented, looking between the two of them. "I won't bother to ask how you're both able to identify the incense used in those brothels."