Author: L. S. Kilroy
Book: The Vitruvian Heir
Published: December 2014
Publisher: Little Tree Press
Disclosure: Please note that this book was given to the reviewer in exchange for an honest review.
The setting is in a future time after several disasters, both natural and man made have reshaped the planet. The United States is no more and is now the Vitruvian Empire. Reestablished in a Victorian style, the hard won rights that women have gained over the centuries are gone. There lives are dictated by men and any tentative attempt at self determination is severely punished.
Lorelei (Lore) Fetherston is a daughter of the aristocracy. Her great ambition is to write, but writing among women is strictly controlled. She must marry a friend whom she loves but isn’t in love with. The alternative is escaping to the border nation of Hopespoke (formerly Texas). Here people are free, and there is an organization run by an enigmatic woman who is training women in black operations. When an even more rebellious friend is in danger of prison or worse, Lore has no choice but to cross the boarder. However, the intrigues of Hopespoke’s parliament and the Vitruvian empire are more intertwined than anyone realizes.
L. S. Kilroy has written an exciting steampunk novel full of action and intrigue. Lore has to help her friend Sawyer escape potential punishment by the religious sect that is the power behind the throne. She touches off an adventure that takes her far outside her safe world as a Victorian/Vitruvian lady. She is trained as an agent and is taught to protect herself with deadly force. The end result is a heroine who is appealing for spunk, courage, and gumption.
The pacing of the book is good for an action packed novel. The dialogue is reminiscent of Victorian literature. The story flashes back to something that occurred earlier but was not covered. I found this a hinderance to the forward progress of the story and something of a distraction. Still, for fans of dystopian steampunk, it is a great read.