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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Maverick (Crimson Rogue) fills the eighth Crimson City paranormal action-romance with a multilayered tale of love and intrigue. Marius Dumont, leader of the Vampire Assembly, is devoted to bridging differences among the different species of Crimson City. To this end, he has decided to marry a werewolf princess even though his heart has long belonged to human rogue Jillian Cooper. When Jill and Marius discover a dead vampire turned nearly human by a virus, the two launch into an investigation that leads them to the diaries of Charlotte Paxton, a draper in Victorian London whose relationship with science enthusiast Edward Vaughan underlies all of the modern intrigue in Crimson City. Flowing easily between the 1850s and a strange, futuristic Los Angeles, the tale of action, treachery, and tragedy unfolds at a rapid pace, keeping the tensions, both political and sexual, highly charged. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780505527790
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Series: Crimson City Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Crimson & Steam


By Liz Maverick

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2010 Elizabeth A. Edelstein
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-505-52779-0


Chapter One

The four leaders of Crimson City's glittering vampire world looked rather out of place, dressed half in battle armor and crowded into a ramshackle safe house located on the border between the vampire and human strata. The windowless room barely had space for chairs and the table that held two bottles of red wine, a water pitcher, a tray of glasses and a rather unremarkable bowl of mixed nuts.

"Well, certainly no one will think to look for us here," Kata Marakova sniffed. She abandoned the idea of removing the elbow-length gloves she wore under her gauntlets; there was too much dirt around. "Really, St. Giles. Lovely of you to step up and find us a place with some privacy, but is this your idea of a joke?" She puffed away at an exotic cigarillo, ignoring the bits of ash floating off the end into the dusty air.

Next to her, Rafe Giannini slumped in his chair and poked through the bowl of nuts now resting on his chest. Elegantly rumpled, he looked as though he'd rather be playing lawn tennis and quaffing cocktails than worrying about affairs of state. But if he sometimes appeared disengaged, he was always listening. After a moment, he selected a macadamia nut and devoured it.

On Marius's right sat Dominick St. Giles. Neat, precise, and perfectlyattired in one of his bespoke European suits, the patrician vampire just barely concealed the fire inside that always kept him near the boiling point. He was holding court with the other two, pushing his agenda: the likelihood of a full-scale war breaking out in Crimson City, this time between the humans and the werewolves.

So far, so good, Marius thought. At least he'd managed to force the heads of the three other vampire houses here to powwow, rather than being forced to discuss things in a public forum where paranoia and fear would make sure nothing ever got done.

Marius Dumont was the leader of the Vampire Assembly-his cousin Fleur had stepped out of the spotlight due to her health-and consequently he was the ranking member of this meeting. As head of state he had the power to negotiate with the leaderships of the humans, werewolves and mechs that also populated the city. He had a mind to use that power before it was too late. In the past, an uneasy peace between Crimson City's denizens was the most any vampire leader had managed to achieve. Marius knew his people could do better. He could do better. For them.

Kata turned away from her debate with St. Giles. "Are you sure looking out of town is the answer, Marius? Should we take another look at Crimson City's werewolves? Where do you personally stand with the Maddox clan?"

"The Maddox werewolves have always been our-"

Marius, it's me.

Marius paused midsentence, blinking against the smoke that clogged the cramped meeting room air. Jillian? Oh, god-let her be safe.

"What?" St. Giles narrowed his eyes at Marius across the table. "What is it?"

"Nothing," Marius replied.

Marius?

Kata frowned. "It would be helpful, darling, if you could try to pay attention at your own meeting."

Marius shook his head as if it might clear away Jillian's voice. Three pairs of eyes glittered curiously at him from around the table. "It's nothing. I thought I ... heard something." "I made sure the room was secure," St. Giles snapped.

Marius gave a curt nod. Jillian was fine. He needed to focus. If he didn't get the three other houses to fall into line, any alliance with werewolves would never survive. "As I was saying, the Maddox werewolves here in Crimson City have always been our best allies."

"Then why aren't you marrying one of them?" St. Giles asked. "Why House Royale? Their interests are in New York, not Crimson City. I guarantee trouble if you set your sights on one of those Asprey bitches."

Kata leaned over, wicked humor flashing in her eyes. "You know how it is. All of Crimson City's good bitches are probably taken. But perhaps Marius is on to something-Tajo Maddox also ran off with an Asprey." Her lush mouth curled into a smile, white fangs exposed and gleaming hungrily. "I saw Maddox without a shirt once, and for a werewolf he was quite-"

St. Giles glared her into silence even as Rafe started laughing. "At least they were both werewolves," the former grumbled.

"If you think about it," Rafe suggested, still chuckling, "if Marius marries this Asprey dog, their alliance will make the Crimson City vampires and werewolves practically family."

St. Giles looked ill.

"Let's not bait him," Marius said.

"Too late," growled St. Giles. "Let me remind you, Marius, that not all of us view rogue males like Tajo as friends-nor the females as possible lovers. Some of us take our responsibility as house leader more seriously."

"Easy, now, boys," Kata murmured as Marius poured himself a glass of wine, working desperately to keep his fingers from throttling St. Giles. There was no mistaking the dig: Jillian Cooper was a rogue human, and St. Giles's insinuation was a direct attack.

Rogues-this was the name given to those renouncing dedicated allegiance to their own species. Some of those rogues had formed a mixed-species alliance called the Rogues Club. Marius considered the loose union of vampires, werewolves and humans complementary to the House of Dumont's goal of achieving peace among all species. The other vampire houses were less enthusiastic.

Marius, can you hear me out there? It's Jill. Marius tensed. He could not remember a time she'd called to him so blatantly. He'd always just known when she needed him and had gone to her. He should have felt her fear if she were truly in danger, not just heard her voice in his head.

Across the table, Rafe lifted his legs and set them on an empty chair, crossing them at the ankles. He admitted, "I've got to go with St. Giles on the rogue issue. I don't know why being a traitor to your own kind makes you more trustworthy."

St. Giles's face hardened, his eyes burning as he leaned over the table and addressed Marius. "Do you trust the lover who has cheated on someone else to be faithful to you thereafter?"

"Be very careful, Dominick," Marius growled. "You know not of what you speak."

Kata and Rafe glanced uneasily across the table at each other.

"We should have called a meeting of the Primary Assembly," St. Giles declared, his voice rising. "That's the point of the Assembly: that every vampire in Crimson City gets a say."

Marius gritted his teeth. "That's not what this is about." He slowly stood.

"Here we go again," Rafe muttered, rubbing his thumb over a dirt smear on his black leather shoe.

Marius took a deep breath and put his hands on the table, and leaned down to speak in St. Giles's ear. With deadly calm, he said, "Your constant complaints about who runs the Assembly are getting tiresome. I'm aware that you'd like to have the House of St. Giles in control, but that's not what this meeting-"

St. Giles leapt up, standing toe-to-toe with Marius as he batted away his chair and it crashed to the ground. He clenched his fists. "I can get the votes I need to run the whole show whenever I want. You run things now because you Dumonts look strong, but don't assume you'll have power forever."

"Do you really think this is the time for internal squabbles?" Marius asked.

St. Giles smiled. "I'd just be careful not to show any sign of weakness."

"Is that a threat?" Marius bared his fangs.

"I'm putting you on notice, is all."

Rafe interrupted in a drawl, tossing a nut in the air and catching it in his mouth. "You've been putting him on notice for years." Still chewing, he added, "If you want control of the vampire Primary Assembly, put it to a vote already."

Kata took a drag of her cigarillo and exhaled a perfect set of rings into the air. The three other vampires fixated on the dissipating smoke, and she said, "It's quite a risk for you, Marius, this marriage business. I think you're mad to do it, even for the sake of peace. We all know how close the vote was when the House of Dumont was first elected to lead us. Old Lucien got the votes he needed because yours is the oldest house, and therefore the purest. Now you want to muddy your genes with a dog?"

"The House of Dumont is interested in peace. I would be a hypocrite not to enter into an alliance with a werewolf because I wanted to preserve 'vampire purity,'" Marius said. "The concept is ludicrous and counterproductive, no matter what our people believe."

St. Giles just shook his head and smirked.

Why do you not come? From somewhere across the city, Jillian's summons interrupted once more. Her heartbeat pounded a rhythm into Marius's head.

He forced himself not to let his agitation show, instead anchoring himself in the meeting, where he really needed to keep his attention. He could see the schemes already being birthed in St. Giles's mind. "Yes, Dominick. You should welcome this risk. Support me in this marriage alliance, and we'll have a longtime peace ... or my failure could put the House of St. Giles in control."

"When do you need to give the Asprey werewolves an answer?" Rafe asked.

"Tonight." Marius looked around the table. "I need to give them a response tonight."

Kata smirked. "They say marriage really isn't something one should rush into."

"Don't you take anything seriously?" St. Giles snapped, shaking his head.

"I'm trying to lighten the mood," she retorted. "And if you want to be taken seriously, St. Giles, stop always saying there's going to be some war or another. Stop, shall we say ... crying wolf?"

Rafe laughed so hard he choked on the wine he'd been swilling.

"He's right, though. There is always danger," Marius admitted, wearier than he could ever remember feeling. "That is what I'm trying to end."

I need you!

No! Marius thought back, finally snapping, wincing and pressing his palm against his temple. He could not go to Jillian now. If she were truly in danger, it would be one thing, but not now. It was so confusing: he sensed her distress yet not the nature of what she faced. He had a duty to his people, and he needed to maintain the control that had kept him so long from his heart's desire-what would keep him from her for his entire existence. No matter what, he could not go to her until this matter was decided.

"Marius?" Kata asked suspiciously. "Are you-?"

"God damn it!" He slammed his fist down on the table, and Kata lurched back in her chair. "There is no time for any of this." He stared around the table. "Will you support my marriage or not?" he thundered. "I need an answer."

As if she had all the time in the world, Kata swiveled in her chair and jammed the spent end of her cigarillo into a piece of broken body armor she was using as an ashtray. "I would appreciate it, Dumont, if you would not raise your voice at me."

After a pause, she continued. "It isn't like you, Marius. You're so edgy, it's making me nervous. Now, as for your question ... I don't mind letting you try once more to salvage peace in this city. We don't have much to lose. Maybe your marrying an Asprey werewolf is the answer. I'm willing to find out. At the very least, we won't have to worry about the dogs teaming up with the humans anymore."

She was crying; Marius suddenly sensed it. Jillian was crying. He looked desperately around the table, wanting to finish this meeting, wanting to get to her. "This is an opportunity to show the humans that nobody is teaming up against anybody," he said.

"Yeah?" St. Giles asked. "How does this wedding do that?"

Marius cleared his throat and moved his hands under the table, balling them into fists. Crying was not the same as being in danger, he told himself. You've made her cry before, god knows. Many times. Jillian was never in danger then.

Calmly he answered, "We do the wedding openly, Dominick, in a positive spirit. Everybody will be invited-vampires, werewolves, humans, mechs. And not just the humans who've helped us in the past. We'll invite members of their current government. We include everybody. It has to start somewhere."

"Bullshit," St. Giles sneered. "The humans will see this wedding as an act of aggression, not as some sort of 'Kumbaya' moment, even if they're included. They've been looking for an excuse to invoke Total Recall. We can't give it to them."

"Total Recall?" Rafe spoke up. "That old plan? For one thing, that would mean a lead-up to all-out war. For another, do you really think they could get anyone to sign a loyalty oath these days? There's more interspecies tolerance than ever in this city ... even if that's still not quite enough."

"If the human government is smart, they will see this wedding gives them an opportunity for unity," Marius argued.

"The human government has never been smart," Kata said. Then she cocked her head toward Marius and winked. "But I do love a good wedding."

Marius turned back to the glowering St. Giles. "The message this marriage alliance will send is 'All species united'-but I promise you that the subtext will make it clear we vampires are not doing this through weakness."

Rafe leaned forward with an outstretched hand and shrugged. "Well, the wedding's your funeral. I'm con-"

"Not so fast," St. Giles interrupted. He pressed the other vampire's hand down onto the table before Marius could shake it. "Is no one going to address the elephant in the room?" He stepped back and crossed his arms on his chest, glaring at Kata and Rafe with disgust. Marakova's smile gave nothing away. Giannini swirled and sniffed his wine with an air of overblown insouciance.

St. Giles slammed his fist down on the table. "Oh, come on, people! We all read the papers."

Marius felt red-hot anger building inside him. He hid it. "The gossip pages should hardly be counted as fact."

"In politics," St. Giles replied, "nothing is irrelevant, least of all gossip. Let's break this down. So, you've convinced a werewolf to marry you. What happens to your vaunted alliance when that werewolf discovers your taste for humans is focused on one particularly juicy piece of ass?"

Rafe laughed, hiding it as a cough.

"There's no need to be vulgar, Dominick," Kata spoke up, though the corner of her mouth twitched in a half smile.

St. Giles looked around the table and held out his palms. "Seriously, what happens to peace when our werewolf princess finds out about Jillian Cooper?"

"She has nothing to do with this," Marius growled.

"Oh, really? I'm not going out on a limb to ally with a bunch of crazy mutts only to have them turn on me because you can't keep your junk up the right skirt. Our status with the dogs is currently stable. This move could turn them all against us."

Underneath the table, Marius clenched his fists so hard his knuckles cracked. "Jillian Cooper is not an issue. That gossip column has created an affair where none exists, and I can assure you that not only is it a media fantasy, but also that the Asprey werewolves are aware of the truth."

Kata sat forward. "You must be more careful, darling. For all you know, Ms. Cooper has been feeding the paper with your private affairs. She is a reporter, is she not? I know the papers lie-I'm in them all the time. But St. Giles has a point. I believe I speak for everybody when I say that if you want us to champion your alliance, you're going to have to stop sleeping with that human girl."

Marius shook his head. "We need to end this discussion," he growled. "I am not sleeping with Jillian Cooper. I have never slept with Jillian Cooper. I never will sleep with Jillian Cooper. It is a gossip-column fabrication, and I'm certain she has told them nothing."

"Oh, come now," Kata said. "I'd be less shocked if you told me you were actually a mech. I'd believe they could be so cold. All that metal ..." She shuddered delicately. "I don't give a damn what you do with whom behind closed doors," she continued, "but I do care about your honesty. I will not be lied to."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Crimson & Steam by Liz Maverick Copyright © 2010 by Elizabeth A. Edelstein . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    super entry

    In Crimson City, Vampire Assembly leader Marius Dumonthas understands the significance of unity amidst the paranormals against the humans. In that regard he agrees to marry werewolf Princess Tatiana Asprey in a marriage of state to bring the shapeshifters and the bloodsuckers closer together although ironically his heart belongs to a member of the enemy species, human reporter Jillian Cooper.

    Irate that her beloved dumped her for a loveless marriage of convenience, Jill turns her attention to recently converted human-turned-vampire Hayden Wilks. Meanwhile at the nuptials, a vampire arrives dying from a human-made virus. Marius and Jill unite seeking a cure that leads them to 1851 diaries by draper Charlotte Paxton who describes her ill-fated relationship with scientist Edward Vaughan. At the Great Exhibition of London, Edward released the "Blood-Taint" that changed Victorian England and subsequently the world.

    The latest Crimson City thriller is a super entry with the key to the story line, Liz Maverick's magical transitions back and forth between the middle nineteenth century and today as few if any authors could do this as smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. The past subplot also provides readers with more information on what happened to cause the Blood Taint. Marius and Jill seem like star-crossed (star-species) lovers as he must choose responsibility over love. Fans will relish the latest tale as this great urban romantic fantasy saga continues to be one of the best on the market.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Deadly Crimson

    Quick & Dirty: A fabulous and fast-paced read that delivers pitch-perfect danger and suspense.

    Opening Sentence: The four leaders of Crimson City's glittering vampire world looked rather out of place, dressed in battle armor and crowded into a ramshackle safe house located on the border between vampire and human strata.

    The Review:

    Crimson & Steam takes place in Crimson City, which is essentially an alternate Los Angeles. In the beginning of this story, the focus is on Marius Dumont and Jillian Cooper. Marius is the leader of the House of Dumont, and he makes a political move in an attempt to solidify race relations between werewolves and vampires against the humans. Marius is driven by honor and his need to achieve peace for his race, even to the detriment of his love life. Initially, Jillian comes across as pretty pathetic, but ultimately I came to like her character. She ended up being stronger than I expected. When a vampire arrives carrying a deadly virus, Marius and Jillian team up in a race against time to find the cure. Other characters round out the tale like Tatiana Asprey, who is a lot more than meets the eye. She was so emotionally conflicted and confined by the role she is expected to play. I enjoyed reading about her struggles with her identity.

    Maverick gives us two tales for the price of one-a parallel story takes place, which is set in Victorian London. This story focuses on Edward Vaughan and Charlotte Paxton. Edward and Charlotte are divided by social class and their relationship is doomed from the start. I absolutely loved their love story. Maverick really captures the time period. Very atmospheric. An event takes place at the Great Exhibition of London that will change the world forever. This basically serves as a back-story and helps the reader get to where we are today in relation to Crimson City. I also really enjoyed this steampunk sub-plot.

    Overall, I enjoyed the book. Crimson & Steam has a clever plot and is well written. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. Maverick does an excellent job world-building, detailing the political factions between vampires, werewolves, and humans. Both storylines are seamlessly woven together, adding layers and a foundation for the reader to stay engaged in the story. I'm definitely looking forward to delving deeper into the Crimson City world. Crimson & Steam is the 8th book in the series, but can be read as a stand-alone. The series was created by Liz Maverick, but the following authors also write novels set in this universe: Marjorie M. Liu, Patti O'Shea, Carolyn Jewel, and Jade Lee.

    Crimson City Series:

    1. Crimson City

    2. A Taste of Crimson

    3. Through a Crimson Veil

    4. A Darker Crimson

    5. Seduced by Crimson

    6. Crimson Rogue

    7. Shards of Crimson

    Notable Scene:

    Jill froze, hitched her camera strap more securely on her shoulder and pulled her switchblade from her purse. Then, taking short, deliberate steps, she followed the trail around the corner to the threshold of a small library. The red vanished inside the room, out of her line of sight.

    Gripping her blade tightly in her hand, she leaned forward and craned her neck around the doorway. A man lay on the ground, motionless, his eyes bulging out of a horribly contorted face. His mouth, throat, cravat and tuxedo shirt were completely soaked in gore. She felt the stench of blood wash over her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 5, 2011

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    Posted April 5, 2013

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    Posted May 2, 2011

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    Posted May 22, 2010

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    Posted June 27, 2010

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