Now that I have a Kindle, I do a lot of lurking around Amazon looking for quality, free e-books. This means I have kissed a lot of toads along the way, but Assassins of the Steam Age (Book 1 Aetherium Series) by Joseph Robert Lewis was a welcome reprieve from all the bad books I had to wade through.
The plot centers on an electrician and airship engineer named Taziri Ohana and the night the airfield in her home city was destroyed. She races to the hangar to check on her own craft, The Halcyon, where she and her captain are attacked by an assassin who seems to feel no pain. When the marshals show up and need her craft to pursue the terrorists, Taziri is drawn into a world of political intrigue and dark experiments, and is shocked to find her intimate connection to the horrible events.
One of the most refreshing things about this book was the setting. The reader gets to experience a setting both familiar and simultaneously alien, where names rings a bell but the cultures and people who inhabit these places are unrecognizable. The ruling powers of Lewis’ world include a powerful Incan kingdom where terror birds and sabertooth cats still roam the forest and an “Espana” where the holy men converse with angels, while the story itself starts in Marrakesh. Plus, there are daring escapes, interesting technology that never was, and a 3-dimensional female lead character. What more could you need?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to Steampunk and Alternative History fans. I will definitely be checking out the next book, Legend of the Skyfire Stone.