This is the 3rd book in the London Steampunk series by McMaster. This was by far the best book in this series so far. This series is definitely more romance than steampunk, but we do get a lot more steampunk elements in this book than in previous ones and the main story makes a lot of progress as well.
Rosalind Fairchild, also known as Mercury (the leader of the human resistance), is determined to find out what became of her brother and to destroy the Echelon. Her quest to find her brother Jeremy and to destroy the Echelon puts her on a dangerous path. She has decided to apply for the position of secretary to Jasper Lynch, leader of the deadly Nighthawk guard. Rosa hopes to uncover secrets that will both lead to the rescue of her human brother and the downfall of the Echelon. However she didnt account for Jasper himself. Jasper is very different from the rest of the Echelon and has an agenda of his own. Not mention their mutual attraction to each other (whether Rose is posing as a secretary or as the deadly Mercury) is very distracting.
Members of the Echelon are going crazy and killing everyone in their households. Jasper suspects it is being caused by the human resistance and is determined to solve the mystery before more innocents die. Rosa, posing as his secretary, gets drug deep into the mystery as well.
I love the character of Rosa/Mercury. Rose was trained to be a deadly assassin, but when things went horribly wrong, she turned to lead the human resistance against the Echelon. Rosa is tough, deadly, and always in control of those she manipulates. She is also incredibly loyal to those she loves and determined to turn her deadly abilities to a force for good for humanity. We meet her in the last London Steampunk book and I was thrilled to hear this third book would be about her.
Jasper Lynch doesnt love the Echelon, but he does take his job very seriously and does his best to protect both the Echelon and humans alike. He is strong, tough, noble, and emotionless. Honestly hes a bit of a machine when it comes to his work. He is sorely overworked as well. When he runs into Mercury he finds her strangely engaging and enraging. Then there is his new secretary, she is incredibly competent, a little bit wicked, and not one bit scared of him (hes had a problem with previous secretaries fearing him).
The tension between Lynch and Rosa is amazing and incredibly well done. This is a wonderful case where the two characters together are better and stronger people than they are apart. The romance does develop fairly quickly, however its a case where both character show mutual respect for each other and is something I love to see in a romance. The fact that Lynch thought he was falling in love with two different women (Mercury and Rose) added an interesting twist to the story as well.
The plot is well done. The smaller plot of who/how the members of the Echelon are being poisoned is resolved nicely. The larger plot involving the humanist rebels and the Echelon also makes some very nice progress. As with previous books this is more of a historical fantasy/paranormal book with a lot of romance. Although I felt that this book was better balanced than previous books and had a great story and world-building as well as romance.
There is a lot about the mechs in this book (people who are part mechanical) and because of that there were more steampunk elements. Rosa herself is part mech.
Overall this was the best book in this series so far. This is definitely still a romance heavy series, but I felt like the romance was better balanced with a well done plot and some world-building in this book than in previous books in the series. I loved the characters in this book, they were so much fun to read about and had excellent chemistry. This series is highly recommended to those who love romance heavy paranormal/steampunk reads. I still do enjoy the Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook more, but this London Steampunk series is definitely on par with the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan.