Title: The Blood Thief of Whitten Hall
Series: Magic & Machinery, #2
Genre: steampunk, paranormal
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Date published: August 25, 2015
In a world of science, magic is an abomination, but not the vile creation Royal Inquisitor Simon Whitlock once believed it to be. Accompanied by his apothecary companion, Luthor Strong, and Matilda Hawke, a werewolf, they return to the capital of Callifax, eager to convalesce after their last adventure.
Their peace is short-lived, however, as they are quickly sent on another mission. It seems the iron mines of Whitten Hall have ceased their production, no longer sending its ore to the crown. The Ministry of Trade has sent inquiries, but its representatives have all fled from the train ride to the distal outpost. It seems a vampire stalks the trains in and out of Whitten Hall, a vampire that will reveal the secret of the iron mine and the darkness that resides within.
Luthor looked at his palm as blood dripped onto the ground. He raised his palm in the air, turning it so that it was clearly visible to all the monsters filling the woods around them. His other hand slipped into his jacket pocket and closed around a second vial.
The vampires stalked slowly toward him, their frenzy barely restrained as they stared at the blood now running down his arm.
“Is this what you want?” Luthor cried out, stretching his hand over his head. “Is this what you’ve come for? I may not be much of a meal, hardly more than an appetizer, truthfully, but I can satisfy at least one of your hungers. Come and get me.”
His hand moved furiously in his jacket as he sketched a rune atop of the vial. The vampires moved closer, jostling one another for position as they sought to be the first to reach the bleeding human. They licked their lips as their glowing red eyes bounced in the darkness.
“There you are,” Luthor said. His gaze fell to Mattie, who was forcing herself up on all fours. His eyes pleaded for her to stay back as he hurried to finish the rune. “Come closer. You won’t be able to get any blood standing all the way back there. You’d hate to be the last person to the dinner table, wouldn’t you?”
They were nearly on top of him, their dark robes only deepening the shadows around him until it felt like an endless abyss was swallowing him. He could barely see their features any longer; the darkness was virtually impenetrable.
As the first vampire leaned toward him, Luthor smiled and closed his eyes. He pulled his hand from his pocket and shook the vial once, letting the water within slosh against the sealing cork.
The water exploded with brilliant light, a glow so bright that it mimicked the sun itself. The vampire closest to him hissed in anguish as cracks appeared across his exposed flesh. He raised his hands defensively, even as the fissures on his face and hands burned red with an inner fire. His already pale skin grew ashy as it slowly darkened toward black.
The vampire stepped backward as chunks of flesh fell away, crumbling to ash even as it struck the ground. With a final howl of horror, the vampire tilted its head backward and crumbled to dust.
The vampires to either side of him burned in place as well, smoldering before
disintegrating under the glow of the false sun.
On the periphery, vampires threw their cloaks over their faces as tendrils of smoke rose from their clothing. They crashed into the woods, no longer moving stealthily, instead hurrying as quickly as possible away from the horrifying brilliance contained within the vial in Luthor’s hand
Luthor cupped his hand over the glow and slowly opened his eyes. The woods around them were deserted. Piles of clothing were strewn about at his feet, smoke still rising in wisps as the ash settled into the spongy grass.
Too bad they were wrong… so very wrong.
Let’s face the facts. A small innocuous bat flying past a person’s head is enough to make them scream bloody murder and run for cover. And we’re talking a 2” bat.
Now imagine that bad that already terrifies you has a duck’s bill. Not too terrifying? Well, that duck’s bill has fangs, because it’s part platypus and part vampire.
Not scared enough? Now remember that platypuses (platypi? Damnit, I can never remember) also have poisoned barbs on the backs of their legs! Yeah, that’s some next level stuff right there!
The moral of the story is that the platypire will dominate the world exactly as quickly as they want. They’ll drain our blood, or poison us, or bludgeon us until we submit to their dominant ways.
Review by Sara
I think that's why I was completely drawn in to this novel, not to mention I really fell in love with both Simon and Luthor in the first book and I had been looking forward to reading The Blood Thief of Whitten Hall. I wasn't disappointed, as there are traces of the humor from the first book, but this one had a lot more action as well. What I think is one of the greatest strengths after reading two books in The Magic and Machinery series is the world building. It feels fully fleshed out, and has a definite steampunk vibe to it. Just from the descriptions alone, I can picture the scenes in my mind as I read this novel. There are multiple story arcs too, and the epilogue from both books hints at that. I really want to read book three now to see where this story is heading. So now the question is, when is book 3 coming out?
My rating is 5/5 platypires.