Series: Magic and Machinery #1
Author: Jon Messenger
Published: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Content Warning: Non-graphic gore/violence
Recommended Age: 16+
Synopsis: In a world of science, magic is an abomination.
Magic is an abomination. It spread from the Rift, a great chasm hundreds of miles long that nearly split the southern continent in two. The Rift was a portal, a gateway between their world of science and the mythological world of magic.
On the northern continent of Ocker, King Godwin declared that no magical monstrosity would be allowed within their borders. The Royal Inquisitors were formed to investigate reports of mystical occurrences and, should they be found, to destroy them.
Inquisitor Simon Whitlock knows his responsibilities all too well. Along with the apothecary, Luthor Strong, they’ve spent two years inquiring into such reports of magical abominations, though they’ve discovered far more charlatans than true magical creatures. When assigned to investigate Haversham and its reports of werewolves, Simon remains unconvinced that the rumors are true. What he discovers in the frozen little hamlet is that the werewolves are far more real than he believed; yet they’re hardly the most dangerous monster in the city.
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As I read the closing words of The Wolves of the Northern Rift, I had a huge smile on my face. It was a great read, and one I enjoyed immensely. At this point, it's among the front runners for my favorite book I've read this year. It's not a book that starts off with a bang, dropping you into the flow of the action right away. Instead, it builds slowly, and takes off at about two-thirds of the way in to what I felt was a very satisfying conclusion. As far as genre? It's a mixture of steampunk with a very Victorian feel which reminded me a lot of Sherlock Holmes, in that it's more mystery based.
And what can I say about the characters? This is what really made the book for me. Both Simon Whitlock, the Royal Inquisitor, and Luthor Strong, his apothecary assistant were both perfectly drawn and I took a liking to them from the very first chapter. There was a great sense of camaraderie between the two, and they made a great team. Some of their dialogue was absolutely brilliant, and had me laughing out loud a number of times. What I thought was a great choice was for both men to have their moment to shine at different points in the action.
I'm a self-professed fan of vampires, but in this book, I really liked Mattie and Kidnip both. They weren't the stereotypical werewolves I've seen in other books, movies and TV shows, which was a very refreshing change. This is the first book, and I'm looking forward to book two in the Magic and Machinery series so I can read more about Luthor and Simon.
My rating is a well-deserved 5/5 platypires.
Simon stepped into the hallway and pulled his door closed. He reached across the divide and straightened Luthor’s tie, which hung askew from the center of his neck. As he straightened the tie, he caught a scent of something foul in the air. He wrinkled his nose and glanced over his friend’s shoulder.
“Do you smell that? It’s atrocious. It’s a mixture of spoiled milk and gangrene. Please tell me that isn’t coming from your room.”
Luthor blushed slightly and looked over his shoulder. “I accidentally broke one of my vials when I was unpacking. It’s an unpleasant scent, to be sure.”
Simon frowned. “Please don’t tell me that was one of the liquids in that foul brew you gave me on the zeppelin.”
Luthor pushed his glasses back up his nose but remained silent.
“Luthor?” Simon asked, arching his brow inquisitively. “It wasn’t, was it?”
When the apothecary didn’t reply, Simon threw up his hands in disgust and stormed down the hall.
“In my defense,” Luthor said as he hurried to catch up, “you told me not to tell you.”
“I swear that you’re trying to poison me. You slip these terrible concoctions into my drinks just to kill me slowly.”
“There are actually indigenous tribes along the far eastern shores that intentionally ingest poisons in an attempt to build a resistance to the natural venoms that exist in their flora and fauna. Despite a wide spread acceptance of the practice, only a very small percentage of them actually die.”
“You find the most remarkable ways to try to defend your inane actions,” Simon said. “I’m not an indigenous tribesman from the eastern shore. Please stop trying to poison me.”
“I’d never poison you without your knowledge,” Luthor said before reconsidering his word choice.
“I guess I should be pleased that my friends will stab me in the face, rather than stabbing me in the back.”
About the Author
Jon Messenger (Born 1979 in London, England) serves as an United States Army Major in the Medical Service Corps. Jon wrote his first science fiction trilogy in 2008 and has since written and published over 10 novels. The scope of his writing has expanded beyond science fiction to include the New Adult and Steampunk genres. His books have become Amazon bestsellers, been translated into foreign languages, and have won numerous awards both for content and covers.
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