Romance author Cindy Spencer Pape’s most recent novel for Carina Press is her first foray into the Steampunk genre. Entitled Steam & Sorcery, the novel tells the tale of Merrick Hadrian, a member of the secret Knights of the Order of the Round Table, whose duty it is to rid London of a drooling pack of vicious vampires. In so doing, he finds himself battling the monsters in the factory district, in dead of night. When he’s backed into a corner, all hope seemingly lost, a gang of rowdy street children come to his defense and helps him finish off the nasty attackers.
In exchange for their help, Merrick helps them rescue their kidnapped sister, and takes the five children into his household while he tries to sort out the truth of the mess in the factory district. He wants to care for them, especially since young Tommy seems destined to join the Order. But to truly deal with the motley bunch, he’ll need to find a governess, and fast.
Enter Miss Caroline Bristol.
Caroline’s a little bit of a liability to the households in which she’s previously been governess. Every time she gets close to anything mechanical, it breaks down on the spot! If that weren’t enough, all her male employers, despite being married, can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves. Which she finds intolerable, to say the least.
So, when the opportunity comes along to hire on to Merrick’s gentile household, Caroline jumps at the chance, and she falls instantly in love—with the children. Giving them into her care, Merrick’s free to deal with more important issues: the fact that bits and pieces of the original Babbage engines are coming up lost, the rumor going around that vampires are finding ways to blend into society, and finding out what exactly is it about Caroline that causes her such problems around machines, and men.
As time progresses, Merrick and Caroline can’t keep their eyes—or hands—off one another. And that is definitely a no-no. On the other hand, it turns out Caroline too can hold her own against the vampires and it may just take their combined wits and skills to fend off the evil when it comes calling. So, maybe there is something to be said for making their little family group permanent after all?
All in all, I think Steam & Sorcery is a nice blend of fantasy, myth, a sprinkle of dark fantasy elements, and gadgets and should please both lovers of Steampunk, Gaslamp fantasy, and of course, steamy romance.
If you’d like to check Steam & Sorcery out, alas it’s only in ebook, so not available at any Tampa bookstore. But you can get the ebook at Carina Press’ website here. it’s also available as an audio book from Audible.com. Ms. Pape has also released a free, novella-length follow-up to this that continues the tales of the Knights of the Order of the Round Table, also available at Carina Press here.
If you’d like to learn more about Cindy Spencer Pape and the Gaslight Chronicles, see her website at http://www.cindyspencerpape.com/index.html
(My review copy was provided by Carina Press via NetGalley.)