It's 1851 in London England and though the people there can travel on air ships and calculate distances by machine, there are still those stuck in the past, such as the Order of the Round Table not allowing females to join their ranks. Another thing that hasn't changed is those in the upper classes trying to engage pretty governesses into activities that if the wife/mother found out would get them fired.
Caroline Bristol is one of those governesses. She's young and pretty. If left alone, she's an excellent governess as long as she doesn't touch anything mechanical. She has a tendency of breaking or stopping anything mechanical if she touches it. When Caroline is once again between positions, she believes she will take her time to find the one she is lease likely to be fired from.
Sir Merrick Hadrian is a knight in the Order of the Round Table. He has found himself to be responsible for 5 children with various degrees of power, one whom has to be a bastard child of another knight given his abilities. But Merrick is single and has no idea what to do with these children except the one whom the Order will find a tutor for. His aunt knows a governess who may work out, Caroline Bristol.
Caroline isn't at all sure she's the right governess for this group. The children are rowdy, undisciplined and untaught. Merrick is single and too good looking. Yet, she agrees to help out. Suddenly, she's having to deal with a secret society, a prejudiced tutor, an unusual family and feelings that she shouldn't be having.
Other sinister things are happening throughout London. Merrick job is to locate and stop the person or vampire causing the problem. If he doesn't, life will change forever! To do so, he's going to have to trust the children in his care and their governess.
First, I absolutely love every book I have read of Cindy Spencer Pape. I also happen to thoroughly enjoy steam punk. When I saw this story combining the two, I couldn't wait to read it. I was not disappointed.
The world that Ms Pape created is complex. The Order of the Round Table consists of decedents of King Arthur's original Round Table. These decedents are trained for battle against vampires and have powers not found among the general population. Those decedents without the power needed to be a knight, find positions within the organization as support people. No one outside the organization is suppose to know about it. Vampires roam around London but usually alone. Suddenly, they are acting together and something or someone is leading them. Magic or powers are found but most people don't have any or have very little. Those with powers are looked at as strange or differently.
The characters are extremely well done. Caroline has a problem with mechanical things and ends up being governess to a child who creates mechanical creatures. Now, how to teach her without breaking her creations! Merrick has an aunt who pushes for women's rights. When she meets the Order appointed tutor who thinks women are useless, sparks are going to fly. Merrick has his own problems as he finds himself attracted to Caroline, who is in him employ and therefore outside his reach. Can he figure out how to get closer to her without loosing her as a governess?
The story line is two fold. Someone within the Order of the Round Table appears to be giving the vampires information and if a certain item isn't found, things will change horribly. Also, who is the child with knight potential. What knight would have sired a child and not made sure it was taken care of?
This book was fantastic on so many levels. I started it and couldn't put it down. I had to follow Merrick and Caroline as they figured out their attraction to each other. I had to know who was the traitor. I fell in love with these rag tag children. Why did this story end????
The action was spectacular. The characters wonderful. The plot terrific. It was a blend of steam punk and paranormal that I never expected but it came together seamlessly. This story was unique and fresh and perfect. I don't think I have enough adjectives to adequately describe how much I truly enjoyed this story.
Now that Ms Pape has made this awesome world, I sure hope we can visit it again. I want more.
Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.
Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she's ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.
When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery...