overview I

Separate from this summary, this is an overview of the themes of the novels.

hybridity II

I take one of the strengths of these books to be their center on couples who are very different, with the plot tracking discovery and negotiation of that difference.

consent & negotiation III

Somehow, in 2017, the world is still trying to figure out consent, and that comes out in our cultural artifacts. Including romance novels.

the iron duke IV

Mina Wentworth is a peer of recently freed England and a detective inspector — and clearly of Mongolian descent, a fact frequently alluded to in the form of random harassment and cruelty which complicates her deep identification with England and commitment to bettering it for all. She pioneers the forensics department of London's law enforcement sector, which brings her to Rhys Trahaearn's doorstep when a dead body falls on his doorstep. Rhys is the hero of England fullstop, having toppled the radio tower that kept the citizens of England under Horde control by careening his privateering ship into it. That's roughly his courting style, too.

heart of steel V

Archimedes Fox has been infatuated with Yasmeen Corsair ever since she shot his awful father and mutinied his airship, freeing Archimedes to develop into the colorful figure of his sister's serial novels, based on his own exploits scavenging in the zombie-overtaken parts of the world. Since then Yasmeen has developed into an infamous mercenary and a fair but strict captain, but her crew and ship are destroyed in the night, leaving her penniless and almost friendless. Almost friendless.

the kraken king VI

Spoilers: this is my very favorite of the novels. Zenobia Fox is a homely spinster and the practical sister to Archimedes Fox, the subject of her world-renowned serial novels; her connection to Archimedes, his wealth, and her own has made her the subject of frequent kidnappings and gold digging suitors. Ariq Noyan is a former commander of Mongolian rebels, currently the governer of a small outpost in Australia comprised largely of fellow former rebels — and absolutely taken with Zenobia's acerbity and lateral-thinking mind.

in between VII

There are several shorter works that provide further world lore and backstory for less central characters.