Grimy Victorian London colorfully comes to life from posh gentlemen’s clubs to seedy taverns, from the infamous Bedlam Hospital to decrepit sewer tunnels. A werewolf infestation has wheedled into the many strata of London society under alpha Gretta Altfather, while maniacal Dr. William White practices alchemical eugenics to create monsterous homunculi.
The common threat brings together a monster-hunting Scotsman (Malcolm McFarlane), a steampunk tinkerer (Penny Carter), an alchemist (Kate Anstruther), and a duo of magicians (protagonist scribe Simon Archer and elemental necromancer Nick Barker). Together with a small handful of friends, they take on the legions lurking in the dark and depths.
The tone of the story-telling is absolutely appropriate for the setting with echoes of prim Jane Austen in the educated bantering of Simon and Kate. That above all makes this opening book for the Crown & Key trilogy worth the read. It stands alone, but has left plenty to mull for the sequels also immediately available. There is generational history to dredge for Simon, Kate, and Malcolm that are sure to play larger roles as London splays open.
I received this novel through NetGalley.