Jonathan Howard’s sly humor, cunning intelligence, and wacky sense of the absurd are on display in this riotously clever tale of murder and international intrigue. In [the first book of the series], Cabal beat the Devil at his own game and was reunited with his long-lost soul. This new madcap adventure tale catches up with the indefatigable sociopath and necromancer in a remote corner of the world and on the run from the local government.
The fact that he stole a precious and mysterious book that had been under lock and key iin a university library has not endeared him to the militaristic aristocrats who run the backward country he finds himself in. “Borrowing” (ahem) the identity of a minor bureaucrat, Cabal flees on the Princess Hortense, a passenger aeroship that is leaving the country. The deception seems perfect, and Cabal looks forward to a quiet trip and a clean escape. He is to be disappointed.
On the first night in the air, a fellow passenger throws himself to his death, or at least that is how it appears. To Cabal’s pathologically tidy mind, however, there are a few bothersome inconsistencies, and he begins to investigate out of curiosity. His minor efforts at detective work result in a vicious attempt on his own life—and then the gloves come off.
Cabal and a fellow passenger—the feisty and beautiful (not to mention equally determined) Leonie Barrow—reluctantly team up to discover the murderer. Before they are done, there will be more deaths. There will be narrow escapes involving sword fighting and newfangled flying machines. There will be massive destruction. There will be hilarity, not to mention resurrected dead…
A pretty decent entry in the series. It's been quite a while since I read the original (Johannes Cabal the Necromancer), so it was nice that the author reminded me of a few things from that work. I had completely forgotten who Leonie was (she was in the first book), and even with the backstory provided again, it didn't occur to me very often that it would be ironic for these two to team up.
I don't really know why the word "hilarity" is used in the book blurb, though. Some of the story is mildly humorous, but I don't really remember laughing much. Hm. Guess humor, like a lot of things, is in the mind of the beholder. Also, this is considered to be in the steampunk genre, which seems sort of odd to me. Then again, I haven't read a lot of steampunk, so maybe I'm not really schooled on what that classification is.
Overall, not too bad. Took a while to get through it, but not for lack of wanting to read. Just been busy and haven't had a lot of time to read.