May 29th, 2012 | Harper Voyager
Evildoers beware! Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!
Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning. They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance . . . with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.
The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure. And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books . . . and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.
Ballantine & Morris' sequel is as clever and well-crafted as its predecessor, with an abundance of witty, playful banter, an intriguing mystery, and a satisfying ending.
Once again, Archivist and Jr. Archivist, Books and Braun, neglect their duties in the Archives to investigate a mystery without the Ministry's approval.
The task of persuading Books to aid Eliza and place his career in jeopardy is much easier for her this time around. Their relationship seems to have strengthened during their last exploits and they've developed a stronger, more trusting partnership.
Members from the suffrage movement, a cause dedicated to the progression of women's rights, are disappearing in a burst of light accompanied by a blast of heat that burns the skin of anyone within a certain radius.
It's a very disturbing and highly confusing case with few leads and no identifiable patterns. But with their determination, Wellington Books' brilliant mind, and Eliza Braun's expertise in the field, they are the best team in the Ministry to find the mysterious device responsible and the criminal who controls it.
One of the women Eliza is most invested in keeping safe is Kate Sheppard, leader of the suffrage movement and an important part of Eliza's New Zealand past. She's brought with her Douglas Sheppard, her son and Eliza's first love.
Although their past is complicated, it's obvious that they still have lingering feelings for each other. This doesn't sit well with Wellington and we witness an angrier, surprisingly jealous side of our usually reserved Archivist.
While the first half of the story seems to focus on building the mystery, gathering details, and introducing us to new characters, the remaining half is more emotional and action-packed. I enjoyed every minute of it.
I can't imagine any fans of Phoenix Rising being disappointed in this sequel. I'm looking forward to more explosions, more secrets revealed, and more beatings delivered by Wellington's walking stick in Books and Braun's next adventure.