Title: The God’s Eye
Series: Lancaster’s Luck Book Three
Author: Anna Butler
Genre: Historical, Steampunk, Sci Fi
LGBTQ+ Category: MM Gay
Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Rafe Lancaster is reluctantly settling into his role as the First Heir of House Stravaigor. Trapped by his father’s illness and his new responsibilities, Rafe can’t go with lover Ned Winter to Aegypt for the 1902/03 archaeological digging season. Rafe’s unease at being left behind intensifies when Ned’s fascination with the strange Antikythera mechanism and its intriguing link to the Aegyptian god Thoth has Ned heading south to the remote, unexplored highlands of Abyssinia and the course of the Blue Nile.
Searching for Thoth’s deadly secrets, Ned is out of contact and far from help. When he doesn’t return at Christmas as he promised, everything points to trouble. Rafe is left with a stark choice – abandon his dying father, or risk never seeing Ned again.
A fantastic book. Superbly written, with a complex plot that is as wonderfully crafted as some of the marvels we learn about within its pages.
The trouble with a series like this – for the author – is that, once we’ve gotten through the trauma of the main characters – Rafe Lancaster and Ned Winter – the author needs to carry on with something else as the main premise. It can’t just be about dealing with a clandestine relationship with another man (although that motif runs through this book, as is proper); and it can’t be about Rafe’s reluctant inheritance of power in a world he doesn’t really like (although that, too, is present). The author must take the readers – and her characters – on a new kind of ride. And well she does!
Rafe is an aeroship pilot, invalided out of the Imperial forces because of a head injury that damaged his eyesight. He is also the illegitimate son of one of the most powerful men in the Empire. Ned is a highly respected Aegyptologist, but also the heir to one of the most influential of the oligarchical families of the Imperium Britannicum (that is to say, the British Empire, but more sinister and steampunky). Both men are somewhat at odds with the roles into which they must fit for the sake of their families. The one thing they like best about their lives is their love for each other – a love that, because it is only 1903, dare not speak its name.
Separated for several months by Ned’s archaeological work, and because Rafe’s father is dying, our guys muddle along with long-distance communication via Marconi transmitters- until one day Ned simply stops calling. Nobody knows why. Rafe, of course, is called in to do something about it, joining the houses of Stravaigor and Gallowglass more closely than ever before. Rafe, once the outcast of his family, is now the only hope for two families.
Anna Butler takes us into the mythological world of Thoth, Aegyptian god of science and the judge of the dead (among other things). She merges the relationship story of Ned and Rafe with an action-filled and fascinating “Indiana Jones” sort of adventure into amazing geography and fantastical impossibility, giving us images and experiences that leap off the page with their richness of detail.
Butler also moves the personal narrative along, involving other members of both Ned and Rafe’s families, expanding that vision importantly, thereby opening up an avenue for a potential next volume. Unlike the typical action adventure film these days, the personal stories matter as much as the whiz-bang escapades of our heroes. I don’t think Butler will be able to carry the Lancaster’s Luck series on forever, but it’s not over yet, and none of her fans (including me) are in any hurry.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.
By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.
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