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Iron and Blood: A Jake Desmet Adventure (Jack Desmet Adventure) Paperback – July 7, 2015
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About the Author
Gail Z. Martin is the bestselling author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer series (The Summoner, The Blood King, Dark Haven & Dark Lady's Chosen ) from Solaris Books and The Fallen Kings Cycle (The Sworn and The Dread) from Orbit Books.
Larry N. Martin fell in love with fantasy and science fiction when he was a teenager. After a twenty-five year career in Corporate America, Larry started working full-time with his wife, author Gail Z. Martin and discovered that his writing and editing skills transitioned well to fiction and that he had a knack for storytelling, plotting and character development as well. While Iron and Blood is their first official collaboration, readers have benefited from Larry's contributions on several earlier works. On the rare occasions when Larry isn't working on book-related things, he enjoys pottery, cooking and reading.
Top customer reviews
The main protagonists of the tale are Jake Desmet and Rick Brand, heirs to the Brand & Desmet Import Company. These two travel the world acquiring unusual items for their wealthy clientele. While their procurement of these treasures is usually completely legal, there are times when less conventional means are necessary, things do become harrowing, and a bit of fisticuffs do ensue.
As this novel begins Jake and Rick – along with their cousin Veronique LeClerque (Nikki to her friends) – find themselves pursued by some violent fellows, who seem determined to kill them over a rather insignificant acquisition. Fortunately, our heroes are tricked out with the latest armored carriages, high flying zeppelins and other assorted steampunk goodies that allow them to escape. But when shadowy assassins follow them across the Atlantic Ocean, leaving New Pittsburgh awash in blood, Jake, Rick and Nikki uncover a plot involving magic, vampires, politics, and industrial sabotage that threatens not only themselves and their home city, but the entire world!
While Iron & Blood has loads of daring-do by our trio, plenty of cool steampunk gadgets, and some vile villains, my favorite part of the narrative was the setting itself: New Pittsburgh. This hub of engineering contraptions, steam driven machines, and insane mining is the center of American steam-powered industry. Built upon the ruins of the old city of the same name after its destruction and elevation (Both literally and figuratively) by earthquake, it is a marvel to behold, modern in that charming steampunk way, yet filled with urban fantasy creatures and shadowy governments and known to the world as ‘hell with the lid off.’ Truly, it blew me away; one of the best steampunk setting that I have yet experienced.
On the other hand, Jake Desmet and Rick Brand did not blow me away. Don’t get me wrong, I liked them, but they never had that “It” factor that turns a protagonist into a star for me. And, unfortunately, the supporting cast were not developed enough to carry the story, even though Nikki showed a lot of promise as a tough, witty heroine in her too brief appearances.
The only other criticism I have of this novel (and it may just be me being too picky) is that I felt the authors gave too much of the mystery away by their constant focus on the villains. Sure, I liked seeing the bad guys plot their evil plans. Yeah, it felt good to always be one step ahead of the heroes, as they bumbled around trying to discover the things I already knew. But, at the same time, knowing everything that was going on took a lot of the fun out of the story for me. I mean, why read page after page of Jake and Rick frantically searching for clues to solve a mystery when I already knew it all.
Now, I’m a sucker for genre blenders, so this mix of pulp adventure, mystery, steampunk, urban fantasy, and fantasy with a great setting was exactly the sort of story that I enjoy. For that reason, Iron & Blood was a fun book to read, and I’d encourage others to give it a try.
I received this book from Solaris Publishing and Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to inform everyone that the review you are about to read is my opinion alone.
IRON & BLOOD has it all. It’s an excellent murder mystery novel filled with steampunk airships, vampire witches, clockwork zombies, tesla rays, and much more, all thrown into an alternate history taking place in New Pittsburgh.
IRON & BLOOD had an Indiana Jones meets James Bond feel. A lot of the book revolves a couple of lost ancient artifacts that Jake and his two cohorts, Rick and Nicki, are trying to recover before the enemy does. The rest of the book is filled with high speed carriage chases where the carriages have gattling guns, bullet proof glass, and other accessories. Jake also has his own Q. Adam Faber works with Tesla and is a genius in his own right, and he is always giving Jake and his friends all kinds of top-of-the-line crazy equipment.
IRON & BLOOD really does have it all, but it could of done it all and cut out a few scenes. There were too many chapters that could’ve been cut because they were repeating information or giving away too much of the antagonist’s plans. However, I still highly recommend IRON & BLOOD, and look forward to reading more of the Jake Desmet Adventure series.