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Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook
Steampunk, Romance
Trade Paperback (BERKLEY TRADE, 384 pages, $15.00)
ISBN# 0425236676

First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.
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.
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.

Author Site: meljeanbrook.com

BEST Romance of 2010! (5 stars)

Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth may be a woman of skill and social standing in post-Horde controlled London yet she faces challenges few could fathom. The subject of whispers and public accost due to the Horde blood she cannot hide, she cannot afford the sudden attention of infamous Iron Duke, Rhys Trahaearn. But the Iron Duke's attention cannot be dissuaded when a badly abused corpse is dropped at his doorstep. It is up to Mina to discover who has a reason to provoke the Iron Duke.

Rhys Trahaearn never intended to make a name for himself when he destroyed the Horde's tower which controlled the "buggers". A simple chain of events begun by the former pirate have lead to a dukedom and a the building of a merchant empire. Feared and loved alike, the Iron Duke's influence is felt far and wide. Underneath the swagger and fearless reputation, Rhys is a far simpler man than his alter ego. A man who finds Mina undeniably attractive, a man who won't be denied.

Thrust together by her investigation, Mina and the Duke must weather a storm of secrets, passion and a danger that stretches far beyond their own lives. The fate of England falls on the shoulders of a tenacious Horde blooded woman and the rakish pirate-turned-businessman who will stop at nothing to possess her.

I know I am not alone in my five star rating of this novel. Before I picked this one up I had heard it praised many times over. Which, I have to admit, scared me a little. I was afraid it might not live up to the high expectations I had for it. Fortunately, Brook is quite possibly the most gifted romance writer out there. I love a nice, fluffy romance as much as the next reader but if you want something solid and intelligent look no further.

The Iron Duke might be a steampunk adventure of the highest order but the romance at its heart is delectable. Rhys is a little bit of everything rolled up into one. He's brash, alpha and oh-so-rogueish and still manages to be sensitive to Mina's needs. He manages an apology! He's a giving lover. The man is the sort of hero most romance readers adore. Quite simply he's almost too good to be true! Mina manages to be strong and yet have these vulnerabilities that are believable. I wanted to hate her for it but they made her real, relatable and it wasn't hard to want to knock some sense into her when she wasn't as smitten with Rhys as I was. The sex in this story was so well written it knocked my socks off.

As much as I love a steamy romance where the chemistry between the hero and heroine flies of the page I NEED a good storyline for them to be dropped in. The Iron Duke delivers in spades. There is some heavy world building here. This is steampunkery with a dash of nanotech and may not be for a reader who has a hard time with reading about clockworks and psuedosciences without going crosseyed. Keeping that in mind I loved it. Being new-ish to steampunk I felt like this was a terrific example of combining it with a romance to form an intricate, intelligent and extremely entertaining read.

Quite honestly I could keep going for paragraph after paragraph expounding on why you should buy The Iron Duke but I won't. Let me sum it up. Hot love scenes. Girls who kick serious booty. Bad guys you'll enjoy seeing beaten. More hot love scenes. Superb dialog. Awesome tech! High adventure. Zombies! Steampowered sex toys. Cool fights. Kraken! And more hot love scenes. Buy it. Enjoy it. Share it.

Other Reviews:

Smexy Books
Babbling About Books,and More
Dear Author
The Good, The Bad and the Unread
Reading on the Dark Side

Notes: I received this book at my request from its publicist.

1 comment:

vvb32 reads said...

awesome 5 star review! thanks for participating in the iron seas challenge.


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