Review of The God’s Eye by Anna Butler

I read this book a few weeks ago and posted the review in my newsletter. However, I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it with more people, so I’m posting it here too:

This is the third and (I assume) last in the Lancaster’s Luck series of steampunk novels set in an alternate late Victorian/early Edwardian Britain, featuring ex-pilot, now coffee-shop owner Rafe Lancaster and his lover, archaeologist Ned Winter. I’ve enjoyed pretty much every word of all three books, which are original, densely-plotted and staggeringly detailed, with descriptions of almost everything from making the perfect cup of coffee to the intricate political system dominated by a series of imperial ‛Houses’.

The books probably wouldn’t suit readers out for a quick-fix read with lots of sex, but I loved being able to lose myself in Rafe and Ned’s world and – of course – the archaeology was an added bonus. In this particular book the plot centres around the famous Antikythera device, which really exists, has been studied extensively, but is just as much of an enigma as it ever was. Ms Butler’s explanation of what it was for was just divine (in more ways than one, cough) and Rafe and Ned’s ‛boy’s own’ adventures, at least partly inside an incredible unknown pyramid, kept me turning the pages long into the night.

The few steampunk books I’ve tried in the past have been disappointing; an airship here, a pair of electric bellows there and the authors seem to think that’s enough. But here the whole world revolves around aether and phlogiston, and it’s written into the narrative so skillfully that it becomes far more than just another backdrop to the story.

I thoroughly recommend all three books. Although the plots are standalone, it’s worth starting with the first book, The Gilded Scarab, and following Rafe’s adventures, because that way the other two books will make a lot more sense!

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