Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
A fantastic book. Superbly written, with a complex plot that is as wonderfully crafted as some of the marvels we learn about within its pages.
The trouble with a series like this – for the author – is that, once we’ve gotten through the trauma of the main characters – Rafe Lancaster and Ned Winter – the author needs to carry on with something else as the main premise. It can’t just be about dealing with a clandestine relationship with another man (although that motif runs through this book, as is proper); and it can’t be about Rafe’s reluctant inheritance of power in a world he doesn’t really like (although that, too, is present). The author must take the readers – and her characters – on a new kind of ride. And well she does!
Rafe is an aeroship pilot, invalided out of the Imperial forces because of a head injury that damaged his eyesight. He is also the illegitimate son of one of the most powerful men in the Empire. Ned is a highly respected Aegyptologist, but also the heir to one of the most influential of the oligarchical families of the Imperium Britannicum (that is to say, the British Empire, but more sinister and steampunky). Both men are somewhat at odds with the roles into which they must fit for the sake of their families. The one thing they like best about their lives is their love for each other – a love that, because it is only 1903, dare not speak its name.
Separated for several months by Ned’s archaeological work, and because Rafe’s father is dying, our guys muddle along with long-distance communication via Marconi transmitters- until one day Ned simply stops calling. Nobody knows why. Rafe, of course, is called in to do something about it, joining the houses of Stravaigor and Gallowglass more closely than ever before. Rafe, once the outcast of his family, is now the only hope for two families.
Anna Butler takes us into the mythological world of Thoth, Aegyptian god of science and the judge of the dead (among other things). She merges the relationship story of Ned and Rafe with an action-filled and fascinating “Indiana Jones” sort of adventure into amazing geography and fantastical impossibility, giving us images and experiences that leap off the page with their richness of detail.
Butler also moves the personal narrative along, involving other members of both Ned and Rafe’s families, expanding that vision importantly, thereby opening up an avenue for a potential next volume. Unlike the typical action adventure film these days, the personal stories matter as much as the whiz-bang escapades of our heroes. I don’t think Butler will be able to carry the Lancaster’s Luck series on forever, but it’s not over yet, and none of her fans (including me) are in any hurry.