Decorated artilleryman Edgar Mason was forced to find new work when the British Empire replaced its foot soldiers with monstrous machines. Now he waits on the Liverpool elite as a personal servant. He has just one rule: he won't work for fashion-addled dandies.
Agamemnon Frost, however, is far from the foppish man-about-town he appears to be. He's working to protect the Earth from an alien invasion being planned by a face-changing creature known as Pandarus. And on the night he plans to confront the aliens, he enlists Mason to assist him.
For a man to love a man is a serious crime in Victorian England. But when Mason meets Frost, his heart thunders and his blood catches fire. And when Pandarus drags the two men into the torture cellars beneath his house of death to brainwash them, Mason's new passion may be all that stands between him and insanity.
©2013 Kim Knox (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death, first in a series of short novellas, was a very different kind of animal; in this case, a good kind. Aliens, ray guns, sci fi, mystery, spies, thriller, steampunk, and gay main protagonists - what's not to love? And while that many ingredients could make the plot rather overcooked, author Kim Knox somehow manages to pull it off. But be warned - it does stop just as things are starting to get going.
The perspective is told from an ordinary Joe - a former soldier named Mason looking for a manservant job in a time when jobs are hard to find (the army having been replaced by machines). He takes a one-night assignment for a gentleman visiting the estate of a nobleman. But as soon as he is told by the enigmatic Agamemnon Frost that the house is full of disguised aliens, the night is going to be full of excitement.
The story is told in a very interesting way - Knox does an excellent job of channeling a very real male Victorian character (think the valet in Downton Abbey) in the protagonist. We're only given his point of view, so the unraveling of the sequence of events is given a great languid reveal. We're not sure what Agamemnon's game is more than Mason does.
But that single POV was also a bit frustrating because Frost is meant to be enigmatic - but he ends up more as a cypher. Mason has a history of sexual ambiguity (bisexual) but clearly is very attracted to Frost. On the other hand, Frost does nothing except charm, seduce, and play with nearly every character in the story. I kind of wondered what Mason saw in Frost that was so attractive as a result. Frost is very distant and remote - methodical, callous, and single minded. I would have liked to see a touch of reciprocation rather than opportunistic pecks that always seem to be interrupted. I guess it will have to come in later novels.
I can say for certain: whatever you think this book is going to be wrong. It was perhaps the most wholly original and creative plot that I have read in years.
"What a disappointment!"
Not as advertised
Which particular genre - there are two overt genres here.
Anger and disappointment.
Homoeroticism and steampunk don't really mix, at least not in this novel. If you enjoy homoeroticism you'll probably be disappointed, and if you enjoy steampunk you'll certainly be disappointed. And, it follows, if you enjoy both then you'll be doubly disappointed! The book itself doesn't seem to know what it wants to be and consequently fails at both. Add to that a very ponderous writing style and an equally ponderous narration and you get something very difficult to listen to. Even with my iPod on a 'fast' playback setting I still couldn't stick with it to the end.
I won't be buying any more in this series.
"Steampunk and Martians, just superb"
Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death by Kim Knox is a wonderful mix of Victorian steam punk and aliens from Mars.Edgar Mason spent 10 years as a foot soldier for the British Empire. Now finding himself no longer required, his role on the battlefield replaced by machines, he finds employment where he can, working as a personal servant for The Registry. Mason is hired by Sir Randolph Cadwallander to serve as a valet to the dangerously enigmatic Agamemnon Frost when he visits Sir Randolph to attend a very special Twelfth Night dinner party. Mason finds himself drawn to the man from the moment they first meet but Agamemnon Frost is not what he seems, and neither is Sir Randolph Cadwallander or the rest of the guests. It also turns out that Edgar’s presence is by design as well.
Stephen McLoughlin's narration is just perfect. Agamemnon is deliciously seductive with his clipped tones and correct disposition, I kept thinking of a cross between Sherlock Holmes and a bohemian Dr Who as I was listening. I loved it.
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