Bringing more investigation into her latest installment of The Disenchanted & Co. steampunk series, Lynn Viehl creates a delightful story with The Clockwork Wolf. Romance takes a back seat to the intrigue and adventure, creating an all around amusing tale.
Doing a favor for deathmage Lucien Dredmore, Kit agrees to interview a newly widowed lady as a potential client. Upon meeting, however, she learns that the woman in question is none other than Lady Eugenia Bestly, president of the Rumsen Ladies Decency Society— someone who once led a vicious campaign to ruin Kit’s life. Ironically Lady Bestly now lives in fear herself, for the press is about to unmask her husband as the savage “Wolfman” who died while terrorizing the city.
As monstrous rampages continue to occur, Kit soon determines there is more than one Wolfman, and that they may themselves be victims of evil players. While avoiding both mechanized assassins and attempts by Dredmore and Chief Inspector Tom Doyle to take her under their protection, Kit follows a tangled path that leads from a prestigious gentlemen’s club fronting a hellish secret to a vengeful native tribe and dangerous, ancient magics.
I was delightfully surprised to see that many of my gripes about the first edition of the series have been fixed in The Clockwork Wolf. Romance is but one aspect of the overall story without dominating it. In addition, Viehl’s narrative becomes more descriptive which keeps the plot clearly in the mind of the reader. The only time where Viehl doesn’t give a fully realized description is when she tells of the alternate America. This is a little annoying since it relies on prior series knowledge for one to know it’s not an alternate England. I wish she had given some geographic clues to help solidify where her characters were living.
Viehl did a good job of making me forget all the little annoying characteristics and let me judge them on what I read in The Clockwork Wolf. The main character Kit was headstrong and sensible the majority of the time. She did have her downsides though like her habit of throwing herself into the arms of any nearby man. There were more than a couple of instances where I rolled my eyes at her actions and wish Viehl had written her a bit more powerful in her convictions. The various minor players were ones I had neutral feelings towards. None of them made a big impression, be it negative or positive.
The plot is the strong point of The Clockwork Wolf. Viehl weaves Native American tales of werewolves with mechanical wolf men in a really neat way. Kit gets thrown into the thick of it like any great detective and Viehl makes the reader want to know how the story ends. I was genuinely happy that I gave Viehl another read and I can whole-heartedly recommend this story.