One of the disadvantages of getting the first three books of the Emperor’s Edge series in a collection is that it doesn’t count as a book read towards my Goodreads total yet! I got this set of three as part of a Fantasy bundle from StoryBundle.com. I don’t know why I didn’t buy it sooner – but just this single volume is worth what I paid for a whole load of great books!
We are in a steampunk world where magic is outlawed, except that someone is using it. The solid, loyal, enforcer, Amaranthe Lokdon, a rarity on the force since she’s female, is working hard to make her career work – and is loyal to the emperor, of course. So when the emperor’s former regent spots her ‘making eyes’ at the emperor, he takes steps to get her out of the way – and that propels Amaranthe headlong on a slippery slope out of the enforcers and onto the wanted – dead or alive – list.
By some strange twists of fate she ends up encouraging the assassin Sicarius that his goals tie in with hers – to protect the emperor from those who would assassinate him. Her plan is anything but simple; in fact it’s so weird it might just work. And a motley crew of misfits assemble to help her out, despite themselves. Amaranthe has a way of making her goals their own.
I couldn’t tell you the rest of the plot if I wanted to. Deceit wrapped in treachery overlaid with double-dealings, it’s hard to keep up but easy on the eye. There are more twists than on a helter-skelter. Ms Buroker’s writing is as smooth as silk – silence creeps over them like darkness, or something like that (I should have highlighted it). This is a beautifully crafted book, from the detailed steampunk machines to the layers of society, with each niche populated by exquisitely honed characters. Even the fights (and there’s a lot of tasteful gore) are handled so smoothly it’s like consuming chilli and lime chocolate.
I was a fan of Lindsay Buroker from the Flash Gold series, but this is a cut above. It’s like Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd & The Grey Mouser reborn in a steampunk setting. It’s really classy – and thrilling, fascinating,nerve-wracking and … Sicarius is hot! Amaranthe thinks that, and I totally agree with her. Such a shame he’s an assassin…
The Emperor’s Edge, by Lindsay Buroker.
Roll on Book 2 – Dark Currents.