cover image Imprudence


Gail Carriger. Hachette Book/Orbit, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-0-316-21221-2

The second installment of Carriger's Custard Protocol series picks up not long after the events of 2015's Prudence, set in an alternate Victorian England populated by various paranormal entities. Series heroine Rue, the daughter of previous protagonists Lord and Lady Maccon, is chastised for her unconventional and unauthorized approach to diplomacy and stripped of her legal protections by Queen Victoria. Undaunted, Rue carries on; when a family emergency requires that she use her airship, the Spotted Custard, to transport her parents to Egypt, she seizes the opportunity to see more of the world. Their journey is fraught with danger, with attackers appearing like clockwork, and it's all Rue and her eclectic crew can do to fend them off. The trip is made ever more complicated by matters of the heart: Rue is falling for her chief engineer, Quesnel Lefoux, but is determined to keep things casual. Romance and mayhem are described with a tongue-in-cheek mannerly tone as Rue and her friends try to discover why they're being attacked and to stop it before things get out of hand. Carriger remains deft at mixing comedy with action in her idiosyncratic steampunk and paranormal setting. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (July)