by Liz Maverick

January 2010
ISBN: 978-0505527790
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

Author Liz Maverick revisits the popular Crimson City series with her newest novel, Crimson Steam. It is both sequel and prequel in one exciting package.

As we rejoin the denizens of Crimson City, two powerful factions are joining in marriage. Marius Dumont has agreed to wed Tatiana Asprey, joining the vampire House of Dumont to House Royale of the werewolves. It is a political marriage based on a mutual desire for consolidated power and peace. Marius is giving up his soul mate, human Jillian Cooper, for the good of the council and the city. He knows that it will be difficult, especially with the telepathic bond that they share, but it must be done. Jillian has resigned herself to Marius' wedding and honestly hopes they will be happy.

Trouble starts at the wedding reception, when Jillian discovers a bloody corpse. There is something unusual about the way the vampire died, something unnatural. When they ask the Mech doctors to investigate, the results are grim. There is a deadly virus that attacks vampirism. They do not know the cause, but must discover a cure quickly before it spreads.

At this point, the prequel begins, at the height of Victorian England. Charlotte Paxton is visiting her uncle on the Duke of Devonshire's estate to witness a special lily bloom. She does not expect to meet Edward Vaughn or the rest of his group of friends. Horticulture is a hobby of hers and she is awkwardly placed in a social situation with people well beyond her station. While no one is rude, it is plain that a draper's shop owner does not mingle with the nobility very often.

As the Great Exhibition opens, enchanting Londoners with it's marvels, Charlotte encounters Edward again. As a member of the Inventor's Club, Edward is hoping to demonstrate his newest machine at the exhibition.

Both stories travel in parallel paths as Jillian and Marius search for answers and Edward and Charlotte become the talk of the town. The stories criss-cross on some meaningful points, and learning those clues will assist Jillian and Marius face the future.

Crimson Steam was a lot of fun to read. The two stories were not hard to follow. Each had fully developed characters and plot. It was intriguing to try and figure out how they would come together, and I must admit that my musings were not even close. Fans of the original series will love this steam-punked addition.

Reviewed in December 2009 by Paula.

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