Book Thirty-Eight of 2013: THE RED PLAGUE AFFAIR by Lilith Saintcrow

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The service of Britannia is not for the faint of heart–or conscience…
Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime in service to Queen Victrix, has a mission: to find the doctor who has created a powerful new weapon. Her friend, the mentath Archibald Clare, is only too happy to help. It will distract him from pursuing his nemesis, and besides, Clare is not as young as he used to be. A spot of Miss Bannon’s excellent hospitality and her diverting company may be just what he needs.
Unfortunately, their quarry is a fanatic, and his poisonous discovery is just as dangerous to Britannia as to Her enemies. Now a single man has set Londinium ablaze, and Clare finds himself in the middle of distressing excitement, racing against time and theory to find a cure. Miss Bannon, of course, has troubles of her own, for the Queen’s Consort Alberich is ill, and Her Majesty unhappy with Bannon’s loyal service. And there is stillno reliable way to find a hansom when one needs it most…
The game is afoot. And the Red Plague rises.

The main characters and the fantasy element was something that I really liked in Lilith Saintcrow’s first Clare and Bannon book. The second did not change my love for the two main characters. If anything, I’ve grown to love them more.

The book is set years after the first one and centers on a mysterious plague that hints at history and magical implications of the world. I love that the world is even more fleshed out. The first book was more like an epic tour through a fantastical version of England, but this one gives you bits of the history. Saintcrow names certain past monarchs that are based off real historical figures and mixes real history with the history of her world. It makes me wish there were other books of the world in the past. Ooooo, to see Golden Bess and her subjects in similar affairs.

I digress. Just like the world, Saintcrow fleshes out Bannon and Clare more. In the first book they were merely acquaintances with witty banter back and forth. In this one there is a clear intimacy between the two. More like brother and sister, but a clear intimacy. They even use each other’s first names on occasion.

The mystery was like a good thriller, with a potential black plague remake, conspiracy in the monarchy, and the twist of chemical warfare in the future. It was very fast paced and had a lot going on. There was even more hints at the mysterious shield, Mikal.

I have my on theories about him, but I can’t wait for the third (for multiple reasons, but the Ripper of Whitechapel is a big one)!

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