I’m so torn this week.
Decisions decisions. I’ve read some terrific stuff, one of which is an autobuy followed by an automatic cry the author’s name to the skies read and another is a first novel of a VERY promising author and then there were a couple of comfort reads. What to do?
Well, since it’s my blog I decided that the autobuy book doesn’t need a blog post – I need a fandom so I can discuss the finer points without having to worry overmuch about spoilers! And since I enjoyed the first novel equally as much, I have decided to give it the recommendation it deserves.
Of course, I’m talking about The Gilded Scarab by Anna Butler which released on Monday last.
For a start it has, hands down, one of the finest most exciting action sequences I’ve read right there in the first chapter as protagonist Rafe Lancaster pilots his aether, phlogiston and petrol-distillate powered biplane in battle over the veldt of South Africa during the Second Boer War. I should maybe mention that this book would probably class as steampunk except that they have done away with all that tedious coal and stoking!
I adore the whole steampunk vibe with shades of Rider Haggard stiff-upper-lippery, men of enormous personal bravery and magnificent whiskers and clothing with buttons and laces enough to slow the between the sheets action down to a delicate pavane before the frantic scramble of consummation. There are manners, there is politeness, there is what should be done and the heroes dance between the expectations of society, each other and necessity to try to achieve happiness.
Add espresso machines powered by cold fusion – something I’ve often suspected as I hurry past places like Costa coffee – and a complex alternative to Parliament, and finally, by God, The British Museum under a slightly different name and I was an exceedingly happy reader.
Rafe is a great hero, charming, witty and not too good, which is as well because we spend the whole book in his head, the other MC is a good complement to him, there are plenty of terrific secondary characters, and oodles of plot interleaved with the romance. Kudos to Dreamspinner for providing a brilliantly apt cover.
Look, just read it, okay? Highly recommended.