Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman who’s targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers, terrorizing the city with dark magic, in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H. G. Wells’s classic, The Time Machine.
Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with her secret divided self finally driving Eliza mad?
Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza’s mysterious past.
As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . . .
Carr's breakneck third Electric Empire steampunk novel (after The Devious Dr. Jekyll) further explores an alternate Edwardian-era London where magic and weird science run amok in terrifying ways, this time drawing inspiration from the works of H.G. Wells. Crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll attempts to investigate the gruesome murders of several inventors, but while she tries to discover what secrets link them, her other self the capricious Lizzie Hyde is growing stronger and more difficult to ignore by the day. Meanwhile, the so-called Soho Slasher is tearing through the local prostitutes, and Eliza fears her own father, Edward Hyde, is to blame. The threat of French terrorists and some royal intrigue turn the plot into a complicated, chaotic mess that nevertheless fails to fall apart at the seams, despite the disparate elements and multiple twists. Carr's knack for atmospheric storytelling and fast pacing keeps things rocketing along toward an explosive, bloody resolution, and the dueling voices of Eliza and Lizzie give the tale a unique set of perspectives. This installment is entertaining, if a little unwieldy.