Lancaster’s Luck #3
Publisher: Glass Hat Press
Genre: Steampunk, Historical AU, Series
Rafe Lancaster is reluctantly settling into his role as the First Heir of House Stravaigor. Trapped by his father’s illness and his new responsibilities, Rafe can’t go with lover Ned Winter to Aegypt for the 1902/03 archaeological digging season. Rafe’s unease at being left behind intensifies when Ned’s fascination with the strange Antikythera mechanism and its intriguing link to the Aegyptian god Thoth has Ned heading south to the remote, unexplored highlands of Abyssinia and the course of the Blue Nile.
Searching for Thoth’s deadly secrets, Ned is out of contact and far from help. When he doesn’t return at Christmas as he promised, everything points to trouble. Rafe is left with a stark choice – abandon his dying father or risk never seeing Ned again.
I love this series, and am sad that this is the last we’ll see of Rafe and Ned, but it’s fabulous end to their story. As an added bonus the talented Margaret Warner’s illustrations and maps are gorgeous and fit the story perfectly.
The world building in this story—and series—is well thought out and detailed. It’s also very political, which I think is one of its strengths. I like how this point in their history mirrors our world but with subtle differences, and I loved the part events in the wider world—beyond the Britannic Imperium—played in this story. The technology is fabulous, and the inclusion of Aegyptology gives the world a very rich history. As an aside, I found myself wondering whether this is set in the same world—although obviously at a different time—as the author’s SF series.
Rafe’s voice sets the tone of the narration, and it’s perfect for the time, setting, and story, yet distinctly Rafe. I enjoyed seeing him in action as a pilot—it brought home not only how good he was, but the tragedy that he had to give it up. I also liked how Ned is shown that he is first heir by his reactions, decisions, and manner in dealing with the situation they’re in, despite his role and excitement as an Aegyptologist.
Rafe and Ned are both interesting and layered characters, and I enjoy reading how their relationship has grown between and during books. They’re both trapped within their place in society and yet manage to move forward despite that, and make their mark on the world. I felt sad that they can’t admit to how they feel about each other in public, and it’s obvious they love each other. I like that friendship is a huge part of their relationship too. I love the descriptions and emotion in their scenes together.
Rafe’s half sister, Nell, plays a decent sized role in this story. I loved her fiery, determined personality and how she doesn’t conform to society’s expectations of what a lady should and shouldn’t do. I liked Theo as a character too, and was happy about his part in the storyline.
The action scenes are well written, and page turning. I found this story a very satisfying read, and was very happy that Rafe and Ned got one more adventure.
Highly recommended. 5 out of 5 stars.