Published by Del Rey on June 30th 2015
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A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.
With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?
When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim’s heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.
But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.
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The husband and wife team that is Clay and Susan Griffith is a force to be reckoned with in the realm of Fantasy/Paranormal adventure. I’ve fallen hard for their books and The Crown and Key Series is not to be missed. The first book is just an introduction of what these band of misfits are capable of, but with book two they are synchronous from the moment danger ensues, using each others strengths to discover who is savagely killing young innocent girls in what looks like ritualistic slayings. Their bodies butchered to the point of obscurity, with a serrated knife the tool to perform the ritual. Don’t get me started on the Undead!
Relationships among the group are not so amicable. Malcom, the dear Scotsmen I seem to have taken to in this series, is a ruffian of sorts. He is all business when it comes to fighting and has no qualms about destroying first and asking questions later. His relationship with Charlotte, the young werewolf child, is complicated and it fascinated me the most. The child is shackled for her own safety as well as for the safety of others among her. She desperately wants to be a normal girl and her plight is sad at times.
Malcolm snapped, “It isn’t some “It isn’t some unfortunate waif. And it isn’t a little doll to be played with. That is a murdering beast. It’s deceiving you until you drop your guard.”“You can manhandle that werewolf now because it’s a juvenile. It’s inexperienced or it would have been long gone already, leaving a trail of bodies in its wake. With time, though, it will develop its single skill: killing. It’s as inevitable as death.”
Yet another engrossing character is Imogen and the relationship with her sister. Kate is desperate to help her but does not know how. Her brilliance as an alchemist is all for naught when it comes to finding a cure for her sibling. A hideous creature that is part human part machine, one cannot help but empathize with her gruesome circumstances. The brilliance of these writers show in the short excerpt below. Vividly descriptive, they evoke the sad state of Kate’s sister, Imogen.
It was hairless and its skin almost translucent. Veins and pulsing organs could be seen even in the dim gaslight. One of the figure’s arms was more machine than flesh and bristled with fierce filamentous quills from wrist to shoulder that rippled like a field of wheat. A dress that had been peach-colored was tattered and soiled.
An inhuman eye, guided by gears and wires, shifted every so often as if in fear. Its other eye, more human though. An inhuman eye, guided by gears and wires, shifted every so often as if in fear. Its other eye, more human though utterly colorless, remained focused on what it held with long, boneless fingers. It clutched a nearly human skull, the skull of a monster, of a homunculus, half bone and half construct. The white object dripped with useless wires and in the empty cranium was an apparatus for recording and playing back sounds.
I love this band of Victorian Superheroes! I want more! I anticipate the next book to be another brilliant read, as I expect nothing less from this team of writers.
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