Steam and Sorcery by Cindy Spencer Pape is a delightful paranormal romantic mystery/suspense set during Victorian England.
Being a huge fan of Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society books, Steam and Sorcery immediately drew my attention as a must read addition to my library. The premise of the book does have subtle hints of the Arcane Society, yet its melding of the Steam-punk genre with elements of magic creates an appealing combination.
The passion between Caro and Merrick is sensual and romantic. I especially love that although Caro is less worldly than Merrick, she really embraces her sexual nature as she and Merrick forge their relationship.
Ms. Pape manages to convey all the virtues of the Knights of the Round Table as she spins a tales of the descendants of King Arthur's court. The nobility of the order is saturated within Merrick's belief and his being. He believes in the order and embraces his responsibility of safe guarding the world against the human and non-human predators alike. Her use of the lineage of the knights is a rather unique reasoning for the formation of the Knights of the Order of the Round Table.
In addition to the main players in the book, Ms. Pape does a fantastic job of assembling a cast of ancillary characters that adds layers and texture to the story-line. Merrick's aunt, Dorothy is one of the most colorful characters with her forward thinking and enormous social connections; the way she slaps back Mr. Berry is hilarious. Mr. Berry exudes all the character traits of a starchy headmaster that all the children fear. Speaking of children, Merrick's menagerie of wards is the heart of the books. The children's ingenuity and resilience and love for each other resonate throughout the story-line. Rounding out the players are England's social elite, the seedy side of life and even a bit of royalty. Overall Ms. Pape successfully delivers a well written full-bodied trip into Victorian England. I can't wait for the next installment.
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...