The Iron Assassin: A Clockwork Prometheus
By Ed Greenwood
The Iron Assassin isn’t a particularly long book, so when the reader is greeted by a Dramatis Personae that runs for eleven pages it may come as a surprise.
Nevertheless, you’ll need that list as a reference for what follows. Forgotten Realms creator Ed Greenwood’s breathless gaslamp fantasy of a steampunk England has enough plot for a whole series of novels, and it’s easy to get confused.
As in most steampunk novels, the forces of the conservative order are being threatened by a rag-bag of anarchists, mad scientists, and spies. As the curtain is raised, inventor and defender of the realm Jack Straker thinks he’s come up with a perfect weapon to take on the Ancient Order of the Tentacles in the form of a robozombie he dubs the Iron Assassin, which is controlled by a mystical bit of proto-WiFi known as “etheric telegraphy.”
Of course it doesn’t work quite the way it’s supposed to. Non-stop action and more backstabbing intrigue than you’ll get in a full season of Game of Thrones make this a wild ride right from the opening plunge.