Book Review: The Earl and the Artificer

Review Photo
Conceptual Artwork by Chris Pavesic. Photo Credits: Dreamstime and Chris Pavesic.

Author: Kara Jorgensen
Release: January 30, 2016
Series: The Ingenious Mechanical Devices
Genre: Steampunk | Mystery
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 302
Publisher: Fox Collie Publishing
Buy it here: Amazon

 

Blurb

What mysteries lay buried beneath weeds and dust?

Following their wedding, Eilian and Hadley Sorrell journey to Brasshurst Hall, his family’s abandoned ancestral home. As Eilian struggles to reconcile his new roles as husband and earl, he finds the house and the surrounding town of Folkesbury are not as they first appear.

Behind a mask of good manners and gentle breeding lurks a darker side of Folkesbury. As the Sorrells struggle to fit in with the village’s genteel society, they find their new friends are at the mercy of Randall Nash, a man who collects secrets.

Soon, Eilian and Hadley become entangled in a web of murder, theft, and intrigue that they may never escape, with the manor at the heart of it all. Something long thought lost and buried within Brasshurst’s history has been found—something worth killing for.

Review

For my first post on the Steampunk Cavaliers I wanted to review an author whose work I know I enjoy. As with any genre, steampunk novels vary in quality and in style. Finding an author whose work you enjoy, whose story worlds you like to visit again and again, is something to be treasured and shared.

The first time I read one of Jorgensen’s Ingenious Mechanical Devices novels, The Winter Garden, my area was under a tornado warning. The TV was on in the background spouting alerts and I started reading on my iPad to keep my mind off the storm. The fact that it held my attention speaks volumes.

Jorgensen’s new novel, The Earl and the Artificer, is book three in her Ingenious Mechanical Devices series, but works just as well as a stand-alone novel. The novel continues the story of the two main characters, Eilian and Hadley, from Earl of Brass. The characters have married and moved on with their lives as the new Earl and Countess of Dorset, but their personalities remain on track. It is not too big of a spoiler to tell you that the first chapter opens with Hadley elbow-deep in steamer engine innards, covered in grease, trying to fix their burned-out vehicle:

Leaning into the front of the cab, she brought her face close to the boiler as the heat of the kettle stung her cheeks. The metal coils of the heating element had melted into a blackened cake that smelled of burnt hair. Using the sides of the hood for leverage, she pivoted back until her satin boots met the road’s white gravel. Staring down at her cream dress, already streaked with soot and grease, she sighed and wiped her hands across it before smoothing a lock of henna hair behind her ear.

Of course her new white dress becomes filthy and in this state she has to meet their new neighbors and their cousin, Randall Nash, who seems to judge her appearance rather harshly.

Both Eilian and Hadley are having a hard time adjusting to so many changes in their lives, and part of the novel revolves around the new dimensions in their relationship as husband and wife and, of course, setting up their household in a Gothic-style mansion reminiscent of the BBC’s Downton Abbey. Add to this a mixture of steampunk devices and somewhat magical-seeming elements that are not simply thrown-in for effect but are actually integral to the story.

There is a treasure at Brasshurst Hall hidden in the ruins, but to discover it Eilian and Hadley have to brave physical threats and overcome the emotional debris of his tragic family history.  Suspense builds as the story continues, as does the sense of impeding danger.  Without giving away too much, I will just say that the resolution will not be something most readers will expect, but it fits perfectly with the story world and the characters.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 12.42.15 AMI recommend The Earl and the Artificer for anyone who enjoys a Victorian-style steampunk novel filled with intriguing characters, mystery, suspense, and danger.

 

The Story of the Steampunk Cavaliers

musalogo-2-300x229Once upon a time, not so very long ago, there was a place called Musa Publishing. It existed only online but the writers, editors and artists who gathered there were closer than many families. They worked hard to bring a shared dream of great ebooks to the world. It was in this virtual land that the Steampunk Cavaliers first met, brought together by a magical series called The Darkside Codex.

All too soon the day came when Musa had to close its doors, leaving The Darkside Codex without a home. Yet the Cavaliers stayed connected. We continued supporting each other, cheering for accomplishments and offering hugs for failures.

Today we open the doors to our own virtual space, a space for exploring all things steampunk, for conversations both serious and silly, but most of all for sharing great stories. We hope you’ll come in, say hello and maybe share a few stories of your own.

For now, I’d like to introduce you to my fellow Cavaliers:

ChrisPavesicIconChris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, and writing speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.  She became a Steampunk Cavalier thanks to her involvement in The Darkside Codex blog and Musa Publishing.

imageDaniel Ausema’s work has spanned the drudgery of food mines and the heights of the rigging of airships. As an educator, he has tutored both the peers and paupers of the realm, in matters of language and physical exertion. His writings have appeared, in many print and aether-based publications, including such august journals as Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fictiom, and the Journal of Unlikely Stories. And he is the creator of the steampunk-fantasy serial fiction project, Spire City. Daniel was also one of the bloggers on The Darkside Codex.

 

HeadshotLondonDianna Gunn(that’s me!) is a freelance writer, social media specialist and book fanatic who enjoys both reading and writing fantastical adventures of all sorts. She was the Promotions Specialist behind The Darkside Codex and decided to bring her favorite steampunk authors back together to create this blog. She hopes to interview steampunk authors, scriptwriters and artists as well as discussing different steampunk influences in mainstream media.

Dianna is actively seeking authors and artists to interview in the coming months. Email diannalgunn@gmail.com with a short bio & blurb about your work.

 

Jorie Story author badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Florian Klauer.
Sources: Jorie Story author badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Florian Klauer.

Jorie Story is a book blogger, Joyful Tweeter and a writer whose season of publishing has not yet arrived. Happily spending her hours seeking out wicked sweet stories conceived with a dedicated passion by their writers, she dances across time and genre seeking her favourite next reads. Entering her third year as a book blogger she is expanding her readerly contributions to The Steampunk Cavaliers as a contributor for book reviews wherein she is seeking a particular kind of ‘Steampunk’ which will whet her palette of interest. Inasmuch as seeking out intrepid artisans of the genre who are creating how the foundation of Steampunk culture, art, music, fashion and the craft of story will be defined as I feature their conversations and creative voice.

Her first vintage typewriter is a Royal wherein her future collective works will be composed and created. She has a knitty heart for charity and is eclectically geeky by nature. Photography is a medium of art she has developed through self-discipline and exploration of wildlife habitats and natural landscapes. Steampunk caught her creative eye for it’s visual clarity of self and how it’s uniquely re-envisioned by each person who claims it as their voice of expression.

 

Jorie met the other Steampunk Cavaliers thanks to her adventures on Twitter.

What would you like to see the Steampunk Cavaliers talk about?

Let us know in the comments below!