The Iron Assassin – by Ed Greenwood

The Steampunk genre is a fast growing one. It seems every time I go to the bookstore I find at least half a dozen new novels. Writers are jumping on this fast moving train (pun intended) in droves.

London is a city of gas-lamps and clockwork. Of airship flights and a rapidly growing city sprouting countless smoke belching stacks. It is filthy and crowded and to many, home.

The young inventor Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend Crown and country; a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse that he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion-or if it is to be destroyed. However, Straker and the Lords find that the Iron Assassin has a will of his own and his past isn’t all that it seems. Is this mechanical man a monster?

I wanted to like this book, I really did. Touted as a kind of modern Prometheus – a la Frankenstein, a personal favorite – I was hoping it would be something a kin to that. A man brought back to life, struggling to find his place in a world that is not ready, nor does it want him. This however, was not that.

One of the things that made this book so difficult to enjoy was how it jumped around constantly. There were too many different plot lines going on at the same time and the number of characters to try and keep track of was personally quite daunting. While the prose itself was strong, the action and dialogue were well written; the inability for the story line to say in one place for very long weakened the overall appeal.

Ed Greenwood is better known for the Forgotten Realms series. I haven’t read any of this particular series yet but they seem to get good reviews on Amazon. Those who are familiar with him and enjoy his writing might enjoy this addition. Those who are not familiar with him, take caution and maybe get this one from your library if you want to read it.

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