Title: The Engineer
Series: Magic & Steam: Book One
Author: C.S. Poe
Length: 84 Pages
Category: Steampunk, Historical, Fantasy
At a Glance: The Engineer is positively fun and such a great tease for what’s to come. This is a series that I’m on pins and needles—or, maybe I should say cogs and gears—awaiting its continuation.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 1881—Special Agent Gillian Hamilton is a magic caster with the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam. He’s sent to Shallow Grave, Arizona, to arrest a madman engineer known as Tinkerer, who’s responsible for blowing up half of Baltimore. Gillian has handled some of the worst criminals in the Bureau’s history, so this assignment shouldn’t be a problem. But even he’s taken aback by a run-in with the country’s most infamous outlaw, Gunner the Deadly.
Gunner is also stalking Shallow Grave in search of Tinkerer, who will stop at nothing to take control of the town’s silver mines. Neither Gillian nor Gunner are willing to let Tinkerer hurt more innocent people, so they agree to a very temporary partnership.
If facing illegal magic, Gatling gun contraptions, and a wild engineer in America’s frontier wasn’t enough trouble for a city boy, Gillian must also come to terms with the reality that he’s rather fond of his partner. But even if they live through this adventure, Gillian fears there’s no chance for love between a special agent and outlaw.
Review: Stories of vigilante justice and the Old West go hand in hand. Stories of vigilante justice, the Old West, steampunk and a heaping helping of magic do too, now, thanks to C.S. Poe’s thoroughly delightful and fantastically inspired The Engineer, book one in the Magic & Steam series.
A fully realized fantasy world is impressive enough in a full-length novel. To find an engaging and credibly sourced alternative reality in an eighty-four page novella is a feat of proficient storytelling, and Poe accomplishes it all with two main characters who charmed and engaged. Gillian Hamilton is the lawman with some powerful and impressive elemental magical abilities, to Gunner the Deadly’s Robin Hood-esque vigilante—no magic but plenty of skill, not to mention a roguish charisma—and from the moment they meet face to face, the spark is lit. They aren’t necessarily enemies as much as they’re working towards a similar goal but coming at it from different angles. They’re more like counterparts in an ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ sort of way, and it’s their undeniable attraction to each other that offers up a hefty dose of physical tension to add to the action and suspense of that common goal—to bring down The Engineer, who’s conscripting illegal magic and is using it in mad and dangerous ways.
The Engineer is such a fun tease that leaves readers with the promise of much more to come for Gillian and Gunner. The dilemma of how to stop The Engineer, the dangerous madman from Gunner’s past, is resolved here, but the overarching challenge of discovering who is sourcing all of this illegal magic will provide for much more action and adventure to come; of that I’m certain, if this introduction is anything to go by. It all culminates with a sweet and sentimental gift to Gillian from Gunner, offering up the potential for much more to come on the romantic front too. This is a series that I’m on pins and needles—or, maybe I should say cogs and gears—awaiting its continuation.
You can buy The Engineer here:
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