cover image The Clockwork Dagger

The Clockwork Dagger

Beth Cato. Harper Voyager, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-231384-3

This rousing tale of airborne intrigue and romance keeps itself grounded with a story as disarming and forthright as its appealingly capable heroine. Debut author Cato swiftly and adeptly introduces the barbaric, desperately impoverished kingdom of Caskentia, with its shabbily handsome steampunk veneer laced with mysticism and magic. Octavia Leander, who has preternatural healing skills, takes a ramshackle airship to her new post as a medician. An attack on her delightfully starchy roommate, Mrs. Stout, is followed in short order by an attempt on her own life. Aided by Mrs. Stout and Alonzo Garrett, a gallant steward who is much more than he appears, Octavia soon realizes that she is a pawn in the conflict between Caskentia and the rebellious province of the Dallows. As she rescues an endearing clockwork gremlin, fends off a suspiciously ardent suitor, and survives being shot at, kidnapped, and defenestrated, Octavia displays charming Victorian sensibilities, staunch determination, courage, and outspoken independence. Ample action and a delectably delayed romance propel the story toward a riveting finale, marking Cato as an author to watch. [em]Agent: Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore and Company. (Sept.) [/em]