Full of magic, mystery, and romance, an enchanting steampunk fantasy debut in the bestselling vein of Trudi Canavan and Gail Carriger.
Orphaned as a child, Octavia Leander was doomed to grow up on the streets until Miss Percival saved her and taught her to become a medician. Gifted with incredible powers, the young healer is about to embark on her first mission, visiting suffering cities in the far reaches of the war-scarred realm. But the airship on which she is traveling is plagued by a series of strange and disturbing occurrences, including murder, and Octavia herself is threatened.
Suddenly, she is caught up in a flurry of intrigue: the dashingly attractive steward may be one of the infamous Clockwork Daggers—the Queen’s spies and assassins—and her cabin-mate harbors disturbing secrets. But the danger is only beginning, for Octavia discovers that the deadly conspiracy aboard the airship may reach the crown itself.
This rousing tale of airborne intrigue and romance keeps itself grounded with a story as disarming and forthright as its appealingly capable heroine. Debut author Cato swiftly and adeptly introduces the barbaric, desperately impoverished kingdom of Caskentia, with its shabbily handsome steampunk veneer laced with mysticism and magic. Octavia Leander, who has preternatural healing skills, takes a ramshackle airship to her new post as a medician. An attack on her delightfully starchy roommate, Mrs. Stout, is followed in short order by an attempt on her own life. Aided by Mrs. Stout and Alonzo Garrett, a gallant steward who is much more than he appears, Octavia soon realizes that she is a pawn in the conflict between Caskentia and the rebellious province of the Dallows. As she rescues an endearing clockwork gremlin, fends off a suspiciously ardent suitor, and survives being shot at, kidnapped, and defenestrated, Octavia displays charming Victorian sensibilities, staunch determination, courage, and outspoken independence. Ample action and a delectably delayed romance propel the story toward a riveting finale, marking Cato as an author to watch.