Seers and psychics rule Victorian London in this sharp-witted gaslamp fantasy novel from veteran writer Elrod (The Vampire Files, Volume 5, 2012, etc.).
Alex Pendlebury saw the world with her adored adventurer father, receiving psychic empathy training as he schemed on behalf of the British Empire. Sent back home at 15 to her stuffy, aristocratic Pendlebury relatives, Alex found purpose as a Reader in the queen’s newly organized Psychic Service but never heard from her father again. As the novel opens, Alex is called to investigate a suspicious death in Harley Street, only to discover the dead body is all that remains of her long-lost father. Moments later, as the head of the Psychic Service, Lord Richard Desmond, escorts Alex from the scene, he is killed by assassins wielding the newest in deadly 19th-century technology: silent yet powerful air guns. Alex throws herself into pursuing the truth behind these two murders with help from her effervescent and slightly unhinged cousin (on her mother’s side), James, and her new driver, the stalwart Lt. Brook, who always appears right where he’s about to be needed. The emotional charge of these relationships adds resonance to a thrilling tale. As she penetrates the darkness at the heart of England’s ruling class—her class—Alex also learns how many secrets the Psychic Service is keeping, even from its own agents. Despite some predictable villainous speechifying at the climax, the story grips.
With gasp-inducing twists and turns, Alex’s adventures in alt-London artfully combine the mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle with the strange delights of H.G. Wells. A robust and clever breakout novel.