For Constable Paul Benson of the North-West Mounted Police, monotony is a blessing. As a provision inspector below the Chilkoot Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush, he’s seen miserable conditions and gold fever turn civilized prospectors into madmen.
Joseph Starling is on his way to the Klondike to find the men who savagely beat him, murdered his eldest brother, and stole their mining machine. They’ll kill his youngest brother if Joseph doesn’t operate the machine for them—it won’t work without him. With time running out, Joseph must purchase an expensive ticket aboard a crash-prone airship. But the station is miles away through dangerous terrain.
Under orders, Paul grudgingly escorts Joseph, but quickly finds himself intrigued by the young man. As they make their way toward Juneau, it’s not just the need for warmth that drives them closer together. But neither man can draw an easy breath until they make it to the gold fields . . . and there’s no guarantee that Joseph’s brother will still be alive when they do.
I liked the first book in L.A. Witt’s Metals series. Noble Metals did a great job of introducing the harshness, greed and danger that prospectors were exposed to. Precious Metals drew the same vivid picture, but there was less world building. You can read this book without reading Noble Metals but I think reading it gives the story just a little more depth.
Paul and Joseph had a rocky start as far as relationships go. Joseph didn’t trust Paul and Paul didn’t trust himself around Joseph. Setting off alone brought them inevitably together, but it wasn’t instant love – or even like. The progression of their relationship was only part of the story.
I have to admit that historical fiction isn’t my go-to genre. If it’s steampunk though, I find it hard to resist. Joseph was young, but brilliant. He was stronger than people gave him credit for at first glance. Watching Paul slowly gain respect and admiration for him was what made me grow to like him as a character. Honestly, I wasn’t sure at first. Their journey was full of danger, revelations and just enough romance to keep things interesting.
I really hope that this series continues. I enjoy the break out of my usual reading norm. While you’re here, be sure to check out the Gaslamp Fortnight: A Steampunk Book Tour between now and November 7, 2014. Enjoy!