Meljean Brook – The Iron Duke

After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power — and fear — of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.
Mina can’t afford his interest, however. Horde blood runs through her veins, and despite the nanotech enhancing her body, she barely scratches out a living in London society. Becoming Rhys’s lover would destroy both her career and her family, yet the investigation prevents her from avoiding him…and the Iron Duke’s ruthless pursuit makes him difficult to resist.
But when Mina uncovers the victim’s identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans — and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Title: The Iron Duke

Author: Meljean Brook

Genre: Paranormal, Steampunk Romance

Publisher: Berkley October 2010

Book One in the Iron Seas presents us with a London still feeling the ravages of  two centuries of Horde occupation. Your hero, Rhys Trahaearn, destroyed the Tower that enslaved the nanoagent-infected people of London and freed those who now idolise him.

Your heroine, Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth, is despised by Londoners for the Horde blood running through her veins. Mina was conceived after a ‘Frenzy’, the product of rape, her looks a constant reminder of centuries of slavery. Not a day goes by without a curse, or being spat on, or attempted assault. Despite coming from a noble house, money is scarce, and Mina has to earn a living.

Polar opposites, brought together by a mysterious corpse. Sounds like fun? There’s also pirates, zombies, kraken and megaladon.

A meticulously crafted world, heavy on the nanotech and automata, vivid in imagery, countered with impossibly human characters.

While I had some early reservations about Rhys taking the boorish dominant male route, thankfully he  allows Mina to steal the show. Mina is richly layered, her great vulnerability covered with an independence, intelligence and a quiet dignity.

The supporting cast includes the wonderful Lady Corsair, airship Captain and pirate; Mina’s assistant, the delightfully stuffy Constable Newberry; and an often soused Scarsdale provides a great deal of well-timed humour.

If that’s not enough to satisfy you there is an epic battle at sea with a terrifying monster.

Action-packed steampunk romance meets sci-fi meets fantasy meets suspense. And don’t forget the zombies.


Rating: ★★★★½