London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.
Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.
Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.
The Eterna Files series
The Eterna Files
Eterna and Omega
The Eterna Solution
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Hieber (The Double Life of Incorporate Things) kicks off her new Victorian fantasy series with this atmospheric but unfocused cloak-and-dagger affair in which rival agencies search for the cure to death. Following the unfortunate demise of an American team researching the so-called Eterna Compound, which promises immortality, teams from both sides of the Atlantic engage in ethereal espionage and spectral skullduggery. Representing America: psychic Clara Templeton, instrumental in the project's origins. For England: police officer Harold Spire, newly appointed director of Special Branch: Division Omega. There's also a motley crew of spies, mediums, and scholars. But as both teams track down leads, a gruesomely ruthless third faction seems ready to beat them to the prize. Hieber takes a leisurely approach to the story: neither primary group ever encounters the other, and a diagram is needed to keep the sprawling cast organized. This initial entry is mostly set-up, leading to a frustrating cliffhanger with very little resolved or explained, but Hieber has a knack for creating authentic Victorian atmosphere and colorful personalities that will keep readers coming back for more.