A city of snow and wind.
A logistical nightmare when running a mission…
…or an opportunity to explore new sartorial delights?
Rory has faced many challenges in her time, but none quite so frustrating as mastering the art of walking in a corset and bustle.
She has to pass herself off as a wealthy heiress to infiltrate the House of Bel, a mysterious and highly exclu-sive club for Airnian high society, and of course her true identity must remain hidden at all costs.
Luckily, Longinus is on hand to advise—that is, when he’s not busy discovering the giddy delights of winter outerwear and investigating the mystery of what happened to his family.
But they soon become aware of a mysterious presence—someone paying disturbingly close attention to their every move.
Who or what is the White Hornet? What is the link to Longinus’s family?
And will Rory and the gang be able to infiltrate the House of Bel before the White Hornet uncovers their true identities?
Review of The White Hornet
As I read the opening paragraph, I remembered the end of The Doll Maker, book 4 in this series. Longinus was left with a mission. Find out if what his evil sister told him is true – Mother is still alive.
Some events change a man’s life so definitively that everything becomes defined in relation to this one moment. Such a milestone divides all other points in one’s life into Before and After.
Reading this paragraph, I figured Longinus was about to do something incredibly brave, if not well thought out.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the Cape.
Ah yes, the author reminded me immediately that Longinus’ definition of words such as milestone do not necessarily match up to my definitions. I few paragraphs later in that chapter, we find Rory being fitted out for a fine dress with corsets, ruffles and hoops. She rebels as you would expect a confirmed street urchin to rebel. Not at all appreciative of the fine clothes.
And this is just one reason why I love this series so much! My favorite characters in all of steampunkdom – Longinus and Rory – are so amazing. Drawn in such delightful details and portrayed with emotion and enthusiasm, these two characters are the heart of the story.
In The White Hornet, Rory, Longinus, Rafe, Cruikshank and Adelma are far from home in the Airnian Empire. Their mission is to find out who is still an ally to Damsport. And while they are there, Longinus will be searching out the truth of his sister’s pronouncement. The goal is to get to the palace, but before they can do that, they will need to navigate the incredibly snobbish social network. This involves tracking down people that will help, pretending to be someone they are not and getting into all sorts of trouble.
The titular White Hornet is a spymaster who works for the Emperor. Unless she is working for herself. Enigmatic and doubtless dangerous, she seems to be tracking the Damsians, with a special interest in Longinus. Never knowing who the White Hornet is or why she is interested in our crew makes the mission all that more dangerous – and interesting.
Eventually Rory and Rafe connect with a man who seems to help them but also seems to hinder them. Rory and Rafe use him to get what they want. Sounds terrible doesn’t it. They use him. Simeon is a strange man with strange habits and seems to appear in their path at strange times. From the moment he appeared in the story, I felt he was important, but had no idea how he would play into that importance.
The slowly evolving romance between Rory and Rafe continues to grow. Still slowly and still sweet, it is just the right amount to mix in with the wild adventures they are involved in.
Near the end, time is running out for our crew because their concocted identities will not last much longer. By the end of The White Hornet, they have been in many wild and precarious situations, each one getting them closer to their mission. But not all the way.
Now normally, a cliffhanger ending would have me steaming. I do not like cliffhangers. But I was warned. 🙂 The blurb for this book ends with “Please note: this book has a cliffhanger ending. The next instalment will be out early 2020 if you’d rather wait until you can read both books together.”
The White Hornet is another non-stop adventure in the highly entertaining The Viper and the Urchin series. If you haven’t read the series, I highly recommend you do so now. 2020 is not that far off. You will want to be caught up when the next book arrives!
Thanks to the author who provided a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.
(I think Capes are pretty awesome too!)
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