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Monday, 2 September 2013

Review Copy from Netgalley
Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships
by Kim Knox
Book 2 in the Agamemnon Frost Series
Carina Press
M/M Steampunk/Alternate History/Sci-fi
5 Stars

Blurb:

Edgar Mason is ready to embark upon his new life at Agamemnon Frost’s side. But all is not perfect. Through torture, Pandarus, his Martian overlord, has implanted a dark voice in his mind, a voice that urges betrayal. And though he can keep close to Frost, there’s little room for romance under the watchful gaze of the engineers from Station X.

That changes when Mason and Frost reopen their investigation into their old enemy’s whereabouts. Posing as double agents and investigating cryptic rumors of “hollow ships,” they find him impersonating a London banker and worm their way into his confidence.

But their success brings them trouble in spades. Pandarus takes them into the belly of his ships, where he plans to transfigure them into mindless automata. And with Earth on the brink of invasion, Frost’s old flame Theodora reappearing, and Pandarus’s brainwashing growing more effective, Mason and Frost will find their bond tested as never before.

Review:

The story continues where book one left off, with Frost and Mason now automata and on a mission to seek out and destroy the Martian overlord, Pandarus. Unfortunately, the previous human body that Pandarus had inhabited has been washed up in the river, so they have no idea what he looks like now.

This book feels a little bit slower-paced than the first, not so much adventure and derring-do, but with much character development between Mason and Frost. It's told from Mason's point of view, so we as a reader know what it going on his head, especially those times when the voice of Pandarus is in the back of his head and willing him to betray Frost, to do what the invaders want. But something went wrong when they changed Frost and Mason, and they are able to fight these inner voices.

Mason wants Frost, badly, and it is his lust that Frost uses to still the other voices in Mason's head. "You are mine. Not theirs." While Mason is grateful that Frost has a way of keeping the voices in check, he also worries that Frost is only teasing him and leaving him on the brink of arousal for no other reason. That he has no feelings for Mason in that way at all. The unresolved sexual tension between them sizzles throughout the book, with lots of heated looks but not much else until later on, but even then they are interrupted by another agent at Station X.

We get brief glimpses into the Martian hierarchy, along with lots more strange gadgets and technology. But despite the technology and threat of an imminent invasion, they don't take over the story, it's a story about these two characters and their growing closeness. I don't for a minute think Frost is only using Mason's feelings to stop the voices, I think he has feelings for Mason too, but perhaps that will be explored in a later book.

It's a wonderful, imaginative read and easily read in one sitting. I've enjoyed this second glimpse into Mason and Frost's world and looking forward to more.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby


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