Rafe Lancaster has, incredibly reluctantly, taken up his position of First Heir to House Stravaigor. After all, if he doesn’t do it, who will? Rafe may not like the House politics, but he does know that the family is relying on him for their continued survival and he can’t let that many people down. But his father is dying, and that means Rafe can’t leave London and join his lover, Ned Winter, who is the First Heir of House Gallowglass, on Ned’s most recent archaeology trip to Aegypt. Being without Ned is trying to say the least, but Rafe must do what is right.
That is, until the Princeps of Gallowglass asks for his help. Ned is missing and Rafe immediately heads to Aegypt to find his missing lover, desperate to find Ned alive. Unfortunately, there are also other things afoot and the politics and backstabbing follow suit.
Finding Ned and his party alive is a relief, but now they are all trapped. The God Thoth’s island and pyramid hold secrets far more sinister than they ever imagined. And getting out alive might be the most difficult challenge they’ve yet faced. But Lancaster’s Luck, a little ingenuity, and a lot of love might just be enough to save them.
I was quick to pick this book up, being the long awaited third in a series that I have loved. I dubbed Rafe a book boyfriend at the very beginning and that has not changed. Though I did have a few issues with this story, overall I really enjoyed it. Butler has crafted a unique and interesting steampunk world, and it continues to grow and evolve as the stories do. This is a series that definitely needs to be read in order, so only pick this one up after you’ve read the first two in the Lancaster’s Luck series.
I love Rafe’s snark, his no BS attitude, and his huge heart. He certainly doesn’t want to play any of the games that are rife in the Houses. But he also knows people are counting on him and he steps up because he must. He also loves Ned thoroughly and completely, and though it’s been a bit of a bumpy road, they’ve gotten to a good place.
House politics and backstabbing are a central point to this book, and this series. And it’s not the only thing that plagues the two men and those they hold dear. Ned has…a bit of a knack for attracting trouble. So does Rafe for that matter. So it’s not a surprise to find their lives on the line once again. I will say here that Butler weaves a believable tale, filled with intriguingly unique steampunk machinery. The two elements intersect perfectly, and make for an engaging read.
Where I did have a problem though, was the pacing. Part of that was due to the long wait between books 2 and 3. There are absolutely valid reasons for that, but it had been so long since I read the second book that I was anxious to see the two men together again and watch their relationship continue to grow. So there were moments at the beginning where the story lagged a bit as we were getting to that point. I then found the same thing happening in the middle of the book. This was due to long, drawn out descriptions of first the House machinations, and then exploring the pyramid. While logically I appreciated all the information, I also found it somewhat of a slog to read through. I think the story could have benefitted from some tighter narration through that part as having it drawn out as it was made the story drag at certain points.
But I love the two MCs, and I really love the world Butler has created. If you’re looking for steampunk done well, and MCs that continue to grow both as individuals and in their relationship, then this series is for you.