At first I was going to review these books separately, but once I started reading them I decided to just combine the reviews into one post. They are so inner twined that one flows right into the other. I suggest reading them that way too. I have split the reviews into sections though, but if you read from one to the next I can’t promise you won’t find some spoilery… consider yourself forewarned. 😉
Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death (#1)
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.
This is a Steam-punk like I’ve never read before and I liked it. In Kim Knox’s world, Victorian England (and ultimately the world) is invaded by aliens. Their goal is not only to invade and take over, but they turn a select few into their own brand of foot soldiers. It’s a pretty scary concept and the action, danger and mystery keep the pages turning.
In The House of Death, nothing is as it seems and there are few who can be trusted. Mason is thrust into a world that he knew nothing about. Frost is both the cause of his current situation and the only person who can keep him from becoming totally lost. There is a strong attraction between the two men, and the encounters between them are few, but intense. Yet, they walk a fine line and by the end you’re still not quite sure whether Frost is keeping Mason close because of loyalty, guilt, attraction or mistrust… and neither is Mason.
I liked the concept and enjoyed the book, but I’m glad that the next book is already released. Too much was left hanging at the end of this one to walk away from it feeling good about where any of the characters were left. My suggestion is that if you read The House of Death, make sure you have Hollow Ships close by.
Agamemnon Frost and the Hollow Ships (#2)
Edgar Mason is ready to embark upon his new life at Agamemnon Frost’s side. But all is not perfect. His Martian overlord, Pandarus, has implanted a dark voice in his mind, a voice that urges betrayal. And though Mason 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.
Things get even more intense in this installment. Not only do Frost and Mason need to find Pandarus, the task seems nearly impossible because they don’t know ‘who’ he is. That, combined with the fact that Mason is fighting off the pull of Pandarus and the constant battle in his head, keeps things more than interesting.
I’m liking this story more as it goes on. The concept is complicated and the pace is fast, but the characters are interesting. It’s been a while since I’ve visited a Steampunk world, so I’m also enjoying the change of pace.
Once again, nothing is as it seems and even when the characters think they know what to expect, another mystery or complication changes things. I like the unexpected. The intense attraction between Mason and Frost is still strong and they manage to work in a few stolen moments, but fate seems to be against them at every turn and when a few other revelations are made, it’s hard to figure out exactly how things can end well for either one of them.
By the time I finished Hollow Ships, I was even more glad that the last book in the trilogy, Crown of Towers, was readily available.
Agamemnon Frost and the Crown of Towers (#3)
Edgar Mason is losing Agamemnon Frost despite everything they’ve been through—the passion, the torture, the heat. Frost’s fiancée, Theodora, is back, and Mason can feel his lover gravitating toward her. Every day he sees them together, it tears at his heart.
Frost feels raw himself. His brother and sister-in-law are missing, and his guilt about failing to save Theodora from Pandarus eats at him. His feelings for Mason, whom he has put through hell twice already, just twist the screws tighter.
On top of that, Pandarus and the Martians are back to make their final push to Earth, and Frost and Mason are duty bound to fight them. People are vanishing. Bodies are turning up burned beyond recognition in the slums. The bleak, human-less future Frost and Mason saw in the hollow ships has nearly come to pass.
And in order to prevent it, each man will have to make a final choice: lose his lover or doom the world.
I ended up really liking this series. It was full of surprises and it was so worth sticking with until the end. Not that I ever had any doubts.
Mason spent most of Crown of Towers still doubting why Frost kept him close. He was convinced that it was a combination of guilt, protection and and possibly a lack of trust. The one thing he was sure of was that Frost did not care for him as deeply or in the same way that Mason cared for him. The fact that Theodora was back in Frost’s life was the most obvious clue. Basically, Mason spent most of the book heartbroken and trying to hide from Frost.
Frost had plenty to keep him distracted from Mason – keeping Theodora safe and hiding her ‘condition’ from others, finding his brother and family and trying to figure out exactly what Pandarus’ plans were. Not surprisingly, Crown of Towers turned into a fight to the death.
The Agamemnon Frost Trilogy had plenty of action, witty characters and just enough romance to keep things interesting. I liked the new twist in a Steampunk setting. It kept things interesting and definitely made me want to check out more of Kim Knox books.
I ended up giving this book 4 Stars. If I had to rate the series as a whole, it would be a solid 4 as well. I suggest if you pick up one, you pick up the rest. They are much more enjoyable if read one after the other, especially since they are each less than 100 pages.