“Steampunk is…the love child of Hot Topic and a BBC costume drama.” ― Gail Carriger
Author: Rhys Ford
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 90 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: The British Empire reigns supreme, and its young Queen Victoria has expanded her realm to St. Francisco, a bustling city of English lords and Chinese ghettos. St. Francisco is a jewel in the Empire’s crown and as deeply embroiled in the conflict between the Arcane and Science as its sister city, London—a very dark and dangerous battle.
Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, stumbles upon that darkness when he encounters a pack of young bloods beating a man senseless. Westwood’s duty and honor demand he save the man, but he’s taken aback to discover the man is Robin Harris, a handsome young inventor indirectly responsible for the death of Marcus’s father.
Living in the shadows following a failed coup, Robin devotes his life to easing others’ pain, even though his creations are considered mechanical abominations of magicks and science. Branded a deviant and a murderer, Robin expects the viscount to run as far as he can—and is amazed when Marcus reaches for him instead.
Review: When Marcus ventures into the less reputable parts of St. Francisco on an errand for his beloved grandmother, there was no way he could know that buying tea could possibly change his entire life.
While on his way out of the Chinese ghettos of St. Francisco, Marcus Stenhill, Viscount of Westwood, hears the distinct sounds of a beating taking place. Not one to ever walk away from protecting the innocent, he steps in to help a man being beaten by a small group of young privileged men. Luckily for both of them, Marcus doesn’t venture into the ghettos unarmed.
When Marcus sees the face of the man he has rescued, he is immediately struck with an attraction that he does not welcome. Marcus has always known that his perversions would not be approved of by his family, but what is a man to do? There is no denying that he has a bone deep attraction to this man, and he has an ingrained sense of duty that means he cannot walk away from someone who needs his help.
His attraction is harder to stomach when he finds out that the man he has saved, Robin Harris, is also the man who invented the “abominations” that killed his father. Marcus is drawn to him and over the three weeks it takes for Robin to recover, he discovers some truths that change his entire outlook on the past.
The two men are drawn to one another, but the risk they run for being together may not only cost them their freedom, it could cost them their lives.
Marcus finds support in the least likely of places for himself and for Robin. These two men couldn’t be more opposite if they actually tried. One a Viscount and the other a “mad scientist”, they eventually bridge the gap of their social standings to find happiness and get a “happy for now” ending.
I have to honestly say I am not usually a fan of historical stories, and I haven’t ever read steampunk, but it’s Rhys Ford! I gave it a try and I liked it. It is a short story so the characters weren’t as fleshed out as her characters usually are, but it worked. I loved the approach she took to the mechanical devices Robin and the other scientists created. It seems that Ms. Ford can write just about anything and make me love it. I would highly recommend this short story, and I sincerely hope to revisit these men again in the future.