The Justice Society of Steam, Part II

Sarah Stanton isn’t an actress, an heiress, murderess, temptress, or diabolist. She’s a steampunk superheroine. “I’m no lady,” she informs a misinformed adversary, “I’m the Adventuress.”

Specifically, she’s the only daughter of the Industrialist, the leader of a group of gentlemen adventurers called the Paragons. Until recently she’s lived a privileged life under her daddy’s careful supervision. But now she’s living on her own and serendipitously building a gang of likeminded superheroes. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree apparently. Everybody in the Stanton family ends up being the leader of a team of costumed exhibitionists at some point in their life.

And the timing couldn’t be better. Her father’s gentlemen’s club is slowly being dismantled by a mad genius with a chip on his shoulder and electricity at his fingertips. The Children of Eschaton want to destroy the world and rebuild it in their own image. There’s no place in their evil plans for a collection of greybeard superheroes called the Paragons. Sic transit Gloria mundi—the glory of the world so quickly passes away.

Since this is a steampunk novel, the fate of the world will be determined by whoever locates the Alpha Element and wields the power of steam and smoke. We’ll give you one guess who has it. That’s right, the spunky Stanton gal. The Alpha Element is contained within a key hanging from her necklace. The author is being as blunt as possible. But in case you missed it, the Adventuress is the key to everything.

Hearts of Smoke and Steam is a transitional novel. The villainy remains the same as the first book, but the series has shifted from the first generation of superheroes to the second generation. Call it SOS:TNG if you like. Gone is the Submersible, the Sleuth, Iron-Clad, the Industrialist, and Sir Dennis Darby. In their stead is the Turbine, Anubis, Il Acrobato, the Pneumatic Colossus, and, of course, the Adventuress. She’s the spark, the progeny, and the avenger. Lord Eschaton has hurt or killed everyone that she ever cared about. And now she’s ready to fight a war. “I have judged you, Sarah Stanton,” says Anubis, a villain turned hero. “And I have found you worthy!” We couldn’t agree more.

[The Society of Steam, Book Two: Hearts of Smoke and Steam / By Andrew P. Mayer / First Printing: November 2011 / ISBN: 9781616145330]

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