Madame Magdala has reinvented herself many times, trying to escape Lord Byron's revenge. She destroyed the Transference Engine Byron hopet to use to transfer his soulf into a more perfect body and perpetuate his life eternally. A fanatical cult of necromancers continues Byron's mission to force Magdala and Byron's only legitimate child--Ada Lovelace--to rebuild the machine and bring Byron back.
Magdala now bills herself as the bastard daughter of a Gypsy King. She runs a fashionable London coffee salon and reading room while living a flamboyant lifestyle at the edge of polite society. Behind the scenes, she and Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, use the massive library stored at the Bookview Cafe to track political and mercantile activity around the world. They watch to make certain the cult of necromancy surrounding Lord Byron, the poet king who worshipped death, cannot bring him back to life.
On the eve of Queen Victoria's coronation in June of 1838, rumors of an assassination attempt abound. Both the Bow Street Runners and Magdala's army of guttersnipe spies seek to discover the plot and the plotters. Who is behind the mysterious black hot air balloon that shoots searing light from a hidden cannon, and who or what is the target? And who is kidnapping young girls from all walks of life?
Desperately, Magdala and her allies follow the clues, certain that someone is building a new Transference Engine. But is it to bring back the dead or destroy the living?
Sometimes, despite how much I want to like I book is there are just something that doesn't work. Perhaps I don't connect with the characters or the story just doesn't work out for me. And, sometimes there is a combination of both, The Transference Engine is just the kind of book where I didn't find myself especially interested in the story or liking the characters very much. And, to be honest, I'm a bit mystified by that because I really do like steampunk and I found the idea of an evil Lord Byron trying to get back to life fascinating.
However, the most interesting with this book was the recollection of Magdala's past life running from Lord Byron, I would rather I have read about that than the story in this book. I liked Ada Lovelace, but she didn't have a big part in this book and that was too bad because as the only daughter of Lord Byron would it have been interesting to follow her life rather than Magdala who I'm, to be honest never really found myself warming up to. The book started off great, with Magdala being appointed a governess to Ada, but then the story jumps into the future with Ada grown up and Magdala running a coffee salon and then the story just become dull. The disappearing of young people and Magdala trying to figure out what is going on just didn't appeal to me.
So, I'm sorry to say, this was just not a book for me. However, I do love that cover!
I want to thank Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
The Transference Engine by Julia Verne St. John (US/Canada)