Series: Crown & Key 1
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.
After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.
- I know a few of you don’t read Steampunk. Understandable. Now even if Crown & Key is filed under this genre, THE SHADOW REVOLUTION is not riddled with Steampunk components, such as steamships, archaic/futuristic gadgets, and cleverly coined nouns. It’s more historical paranormal similar to Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series minus the romance.
- Speaking of paranormal, the lead, Simon Archer, is by all intents and purposes, a (sexy) druid, and he’s up against a pack of rabid werewolves. I love the supernatural element in this one, the magic is aether-based and the wolves are very scary. There’s not much lore or myth incorporated just yet, just enough mentions to give us a good grasp of what Simon is and what he’s capable of.
- Simon has a serious crush on Kate Anstruther and it’s obvious that the feeling is mutual. However it seems that it’s going to be a slow-buring one. I guess our heroes are more intent of ridding London its werewolf problem than scoring a few gropes and kisses.
- THE SHADOW REVOLUTION is packed with fast paced action, very character driven, engaging dialogue, and likable characters. The climax in particular came in waves and each one is better than the last. I had total bookgasm especially in the last quarter of the novel.
- I love Simon and Kate, they’re flawed yet very ideal heroes. Both are very smart, discerning, witty, and they perfectly complement each other. Simon is the braun while Kate is the brains. Also Simon has this bad boy thing going on for him, infamous and known to be a trouble maker; while Kate is learned, an aristocrat, a bit haughty, but just as brave and daring as Simon.
The secondary characters are just as great. Nick, Simon’s partner/mentor, is like an elder Sherlock Holmes/Nicolas Flammel. Malcolm MacFarlane, aside from being a Scot (instant sexy points!) is super hunky and every bit of an Alpha. Charlotte, the young werewolf is perhaps my favorite of the cast. She’s simply amazing! If you’ve read or have plans of reading THE SHADOW REVOLUTION, pay attention to the epic battle that ensued in the last quarter of the book. Charlotte kicked some serious ass during the battle! Woot!
The background concept of CROWN & KEY came to us originally from our publisher, Del Rey. They had developed an outline about a hidden history of the world where magic was real but secret. We were thrilled that they asked us to take this sprawling outline and craft a trilogy of novels introducing the world to readers. After much debate, we decided to focus on a few of the main characters (our favorites) and develop their histories. In the early 19th century, the ancient guild of magicians that has always controlled the shadowy world of sorcery as well as the horrific population of monsters shatters because of simmering rivalries and betrayal. The once orderly world of magic flies apart into revolution and bloody chaos. There are those who are trying to bury the old order and those who are desperate to revive it before the world is forever corrupted. Our story places our heroes into this treacherous world and reveals their hidden pasts as well as the mystical legacies of their fathers and mothers. All the while, the reader discovers the amazing magic around the world.
CROWN & KEY is designed to be a thrill ride of a series, but the best kind of thrill ride. While it is certainly fast-paced and action-oriented, it is populated with terrifying villains and memorable heroes who will stick with you. Our main heroes include Simon Archer, the handsome and jovial rake who hides the fact that he is the last surviving scribe, once one of the most powerful styles of magic on Earth. His primary partner is Kate Anstruther, brilliant scholar and alchemist, the headstrong daughter of a famous explorer, who is desperate to keep her family together and make a mark on the world with her mystical science. Malcolm MacFarlane is a grim Scottish monster hunter, tormented by his past and forced to confront his own intolerant view of his enemies. Penny Carter secretly worked her way up through a man’s world as an engineer, crafting weapons and tools of power based on steam and arcane energy sources.
The three books in the CROWN & KEY trilogy will be published in quick succession (The Shadow Revolution on June 2, The Undying Legion on June 30, The Conquering Dark on July 28) which means fans won’t have to wait long to get their hands on the entire series. This publishing scheme allowed us to view the entire trilogy a bit more omnisciently and fine tune the details over the course of writing three books. We could insure that important themes resonated through the entire series. We tightened the plot and linked the characters through subtle twists and turns that we might not have been able to accomplish if the early books were already published as we were writing the third. We are very pleased with the results and we hope readers will love and cheer the members of CROWN & KEY as much as we do.
Clay & Susan Griffith are a married couple who have written and published together for more than a decade. Their credits not only include two novels for Bantam Doubleday Dell in the mid-1990s and another novel for Pinnacle Entertainment Group in 2002 but also numerous short stories published in many anthologies, some featuring noted genre characters like Kolchak the Night Stalker and The Phantom. They’ve also written scripts for television and published graphic novels.