The chief evil of war is more evil. War is the concentration of all human crimes. – William Ellery Channing
Brom Donker is a survivor of the American Civil War. Well, at least some parts of him survived; other parts, important parts such as his left arm and both legs below the knees, became sacrifices to an experiment by the Confederacy to create a better breed of prosthetic limb. It was unfortunate for Brom that the doctors elected to use Union prisoners of war to practice upon. It’s also too bad that the limbs Brom lost were perfectly healthy at the time, and were replaced with prototypes that left him broken in every way—mind, spirit, and body—by the war’s end.
Not settling for anything less than doing everything possible to help his son, Brom’s father finds a doctor who gives him a second chance at something resembling a normal life, which leads him indirectly to Simon Wain, the man who becomes Brom’s mechanic, doctor, and secret fantasy, but that’s not something that can ever come to fruition because Brom can’t overcome the fear that Simon will see him as less of a man for not being whole.
Brom’s life has been reassembled as well as it can be, and he’s become an agent with the Pinkerton Agency, which is where he’s earned the nickname the Tinkered Pinkerton, for obvious reasons. He and his agents are on a mission to keep a cache of Union weapons from falling into the hands of a Confederacy that doesn’t want to accept they were defeated in the war between the North and the South, and now the Southern rebels have enlisted help from a rather unexpected source to help them carry out their plans to rise again.
The Tinkered Pinkerton was a fun story but then again, I love Steampunk so that’s an auto-bump for it right there, but beyond that, I liked the imaginative way in which the author wove the story into this particular time in history and then pulled in a little North American folk legend along with the steamwork devices to make it just that much more unique.
Though I’d have loved to have seen some of the plot expanded just a bit more, perhaps digging a bit deeper and offering a little more detail about Brom’s military service and the events that brought him to where he was, as well as offering a bit more background on Simon to flesh out these men a smidge more, I have to say that there was enough tension and chemistry between them that I was able to buy into their feelings for each other, and could appreciate the conflict they both experienced in their attraction.
Apart from those very personal preferences, however, I found this one to be pretty enjoyable.