Iron Duke

Iron Duke

4.3 189
by Meljean Brook

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After freeing England from Horde control, Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire. And when Detective Mina Wentworth enters his dangerous world to investigate a mysterious death, Rhys intends to make her his next conquest.


After freeing England from Horde control, Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire. And when Detective Mina Wentworth enters his dangerous world to investigate a mysterious death, Rhys intends to make her his next conquest.

Editorial Reviews

From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review

Everyone can identify a hero: he's feisty and fearless, ready to leap to the heroine's aid in a single bound, Superman without the tights (unless he's a Regency duke, in which case, on with the tights). But what if the heroine is no Lois Lane? In fact, what if she's the chief of police and views the hero's epic feats with a distinctly jaundiced eye? What if she stands on higher moral ground -- and steals the heroic limelight?

Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke is one of the most imaginative books I've read in quite a while. It's a "steampunk" romance, which means that it's set in a pseudo-Victorian Britain, in which bustles jostle with steam-powered machinery, and sci-fi intersects historical romance. Brook's world is deeply original, but it's the Duke of Anglesey who catches the reader's attention. A pirate who saved England from the domination of the evil Horde (nightmarish alien invaders), Rhys is the terror of the seven seas: "hard and as handsome as the caricatures had portrayed -- altogether dark and forbidding." When a dead body is dropped on his lawn, Lady Wilhelmina Wentworth, detective inspector, is sent to investigate. Rhys is a British icon, but it's Mina who is the hero of this novel, Mina who saves Rhys's life more than once. She's a smart, funny version of Sam Spade, a woman who not only doesn't tremble before Rhys, but stands at his side and, often, in front of him.

Christine Warren's Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here is set in a world very different from Brook's Victorianesque England -- but with as many twists. Dancie Carter, a junior lawyer at one of Manhattan's best law firms, jumps to attention when a senior partner asks her to uncover the name of his impending grandchild's father, so the man can be served with a paternity suit. But Dancie can't even find his daughter, and neither can the hunky McIntyre Callahan, a private investigator looking for the same woman. Mac is no ordinary sleuth; he's half-Fae, minus the fluttering wings, "six feet tall, with the kind of whipcord-lean frame that left no one in doubt of his strength." Mac is set up to be the Sam Spade of the novel, but it's Dancie who excels in sarcastic wit ("I'm so sorry I'm not up on the intricacies of the Tinker Bell set"). And it's Dancie who reaches beyond the ordinary: she "realized that somewhere deep down inside her…something like a streak of heroism had been lurking, waiting for this moment to strip her of all sanity and make her throw herself in front of the proverbial bullet."

Linnea Sinclair's Finders Keepers features another female descendant of Dashiell Hammett's sardonic hero in a science-fiction setting. From all appearances, Rhis Vanur is the ultimate hero: the fearless and fearsome captain of a spaceship, the only man ever to escape from the warlike 'Sko. He was born and bred to save the empire, and he has a hero's scars to prove it. But when Rhis crashes on a deserted planet, he's the one who needs saving, and Trilby Elliot, a wisecracking, brilliant pilot, steps forward. She manages to patch together her broken-down, ancient spaceship, and get Rhis and herself off-planet. When the 'Sko target both of them, the supposedly heartless Rhis finds that not only does he have a heart, but he just lost it to Trilby. And, even more importantly, Rhis discovers that he's not the only hero in deep space; Trilby is as tough and as brilliant as he -- and perhaps a tad more ethical. Heroism, after all, demands not just strength but also idealism. Trilby's ability to see past racial prejudice, in a world whose social order puts Rhis at the very bottom, is nothing short of heroic.

Like Rhis, the hero of Emma Wildes's His Sinful Secret is a man wearied by battle. After fighting the French in Spain, Michael is now a spy for Britain, less from patriotism than from the idea that he's keeping faith with the men he lost in battle. Disillusioned and wounded, he's not a man who contemplates marriage. But when Michael inherits the title of Marquess of Longhaven from his older brother, he also inherits his brother's fiancée. For her part, Julianne Sutton is shocked to find herself married not to her cheerful, happy-go-lucky fiancé, but to a broody, rather mysterious stranger. Here, as in Finders Keepers, obvious heroism takes a back seat to difficult ethical choices. In order to shield the memory of Michael's feckless older brother, Julianne finds herself embroiled in a dangerous set of schemers, and even risking her life. Michael comes to the rescue -- but it's Julianne who has stepped outside her comfort zone in order to do the right thing, as they say. Her stalwart moral courage puts Michael's tarnished idealism into sharp focus.

Jillian Hunter's A Duke's Temptation also pits a physically heroic hero against a morally heroic heroine. To most of Regency England, Samuel Aubrey, Duke of Gravenhurst, is a weary, sarcastic rake; in secret he's an author of wildly exciting romances. Hunter is a master of witty dialogue and off-kilter, original characters, and she's at the top of her game when Samuel, dressed as Don Quixote, runs into Miss Lily Boscastle at a costume ball. Samuel is the novel's obvious hero, sword and all, but Lily steps to the fore. After witnessing a murder, she refuses to give in to pressure and (heroically) insists that the crime be investigated. In the ensuing scandal she loses her fiancé, her parents, and her status in society, and finds herself a housekeeper in Samuel's castle. When the murderer finally reveals himself, Samuel saves Lily's life, but it's she who has put justice for a dead man before her own comfort. A Duke's Temptation weighs heroic deeds against moral courage; both Lily and Samuel have their day.

There's a dream in these novels that pervades our culture. David Bowie wistfully longs for the day when he would be king, and "you" would be queen: we'll both be "heroes for just one day." These are novels that dissect the meaning of the word -- and the activities of that one day. Would "we" spend it fighting off evil characters, other-worldly or domestic? Or would "we" stand up for what's right, in the face of everyone and everything we respect?

Product Details

Viking Penguin
Publication date:
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Meljean Brook lives in Oregon with her family. This is her seventh novel.

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The Iron Duke 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 189 reviews.
Nina83 More than 1 year ago
Wow. I'm a huge steampunk fan, so when I got a Nook for Christmas, I tried to find a book within the genre I could take on vacation. I found this book, not expecting much, and was really very pleasantly surprised. Really well-thought out plot, inventive steam-powered devices, a handsome duke, a kick-butt heroine and funny sidekicks. I couldn't ask for more. However, this is not for the faint of heart. I am very well-versed in romantic smut, but even I was a bit shocked by the graphic intimate situations. I kept nervously peeking at my neighbor and husband on the plane, hoping they couldn't read what was on the page. But, it's pretty hot. And fun. I can't wait to read more from this author!
Jane_Litte More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that could launch an entire sub genre. Brook melds together fantasy, a little science fiction, action and romance to bring to us a true steampunk entry into the romance genre. While not explicitly stated, The Iron Duke is set in an alternate Victorian London. The Americas exist as a place where wealthy Europeans fled when the Horde invaded about 200 years ago. The Horde was an Asiatic society that conquered the West, England in particular, by releasing nanoagents or "bugs" into the sugar. The story starts 8 years after a rebellion and revolution that was ultimately won because a pirate by the name of Rhys Trahaearn destroyed a radio tower that controlled those who had been infected with the bugs. Post revolution, Rhys had been pardoned and awarded estates and the title, Duke of Anglesey. But to the people he is known as The Iron Duke. Someone dropped a dead body on the estate of The Iron Duke and Mina, an inspector detective, is called upon to investigate the crime. While Mina is wishes to discover the murderer, she is also tasked with the important duty of trying to determine if The Iron Duke is in any danger. He is ruthless in discovering the root of the threat and he is equally ruthless in making Mina his. Rhys problem is that he has no arts when it comes to seducing women. He's not a rake but he has had no desire in the past to tie himself to a woman. His efforts to acquire Mina are hamfisted and leave him cursing himself for his ineptitude. But this lessens his determination not one wit. If there are obstacles to making Mina his, he will buy them, crush them, move them out of his path. As Mina and Rhys leave London for the air (dirigible of course!) and then the sea in pursuit of a dangerous weapon that could replicate the Horde controllers, they must truly change the course of history once again to be together.
Cid More than 1 year ago
I was excited about this book from the moment I heard about it. Steampunk? Romance? Um, yes please! The world was wonderfully done. It features an alternate history where the Golden Horde (aka, the descendants of Genghis Kahn), have developed nano-tech and successfully conquered and altered the world. England has been broken free from the Golden Horde, thanks to the Iron Duke, a pirate captain who never quite intended to liberate his homeland. I'm a fan of strong characters butting heads. From the beginning Rhys, the Iron Duke, knew what he wanted; Mina. From the moment the Iron Duke made his interests known, Mina set out to oppose him. They argue, they butt heads, and still they work together. This isn't just a romance, it's an adventure and an evolution of a world. There are many prejudices against Mina that make the romance near impossible; I like her because of her integrity and strength. Mina is the kind of character you want to be. The plot centers around a murder mystery and intrigue. The cast of colorful characters goes from England to the Orient and almost to Australia to accomplish their goal and rescue a missing crew and ship. The story on its own, romance removed, would be a great read. There's adventure, zombies, airships and high sea travel. The romance just cranks the intensity up several notches, putting more at risk and making it steamy. For a romance - it's sexy. Rhys is the kind of man who usually takes what he wants, and Mina resists. The result is a tug-o-war romance that explodes on the page. I know I've talked to at least one person who didn't quite like how forceful Rhys is with Mina, but when I read many of the sensual scenes, more particularly the final one, I can't help but see that their romance is one of give and take. It's the kind of HEA that you see extending off the page, not just into the next five minutes. I so can't wait for the next book..
liv2knit More than 1 year ago
Such a unique story!  This was my first steampunk book, and I am so glad I stumbled upon this one!  The characters are very likeable, not contrived, and the setting is like nothing I've ever read before.   I hadn't read romance since my early 20's, about 20 years ago, but this was so much more than your run-of-the mill mindless bodice-ripper.  It's more of a mystery-adventure set in a spectacular, well-fleshed out alternate-Victorian world with some really intense romance, thrown in.    From the very beginning, this book pulled me in for an entertaining, fast-paced ride that I couldn't put down until the inevitable happy ending.  Ms. Brooks did an excellent job creating a world I didn't want to leave (and thankfully won't have to too soon, as the Iron Seas are a series!).   
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book though it had a bit of a slow start with a lot of info dump right off the bat. I'm a bit conflicted about the relationship between Mina and Rhys. It was unevenly developed, being both too quick and too slow at the same time. Be aware, this is definitely one of those books with a male protagonist who does the 'claim my woman' mentality pretty much from the moment of meeting the main character. Mina felt like a much more fully developed character than Rhy, which feeds into the uneven relationship progression problem. There's so much more nuance to Mina's personality and situation that Rhys seems flat by comparison, and the more he gets stuck in the "I will shag you" rotation, the most obvious the disparity is. Still and all, an enjoyable romp with decent overall pacing once the info dump was done. The world building was very interesting. Like Mina, it felt far more developed than some other bits of the book. The author has some ambitious goals in this story.
UrbanFantasyGuy More than 1 year ago
Unlike anything I have ever read before. It was only the second steampunk book that I have ever read, but it did not disappoint. Mina is an extremely likeable character that you feel for throughout the book. What makes this book outstanding is its secondary characters like Scarsdale, Yasmeen, and The Blacksmith among many others. Scarsdale and Yasmeen provide great comic relief while the mysterious Blacksmith leaves you wanting to know more. This is an amazing start to a series that shows great promise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
God, I love steampunk! If you have never read steampunk before, let this one be your first!  Steampunk has such amazing components in it anyway, but Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke steps it up like 500 notches. I loved the originality and the humor. But just a heads up: It's steampunk expect a bit of bow chicka wow wow. I have only read young-adult steampunk up to this point, so I thought the addition of adult romance was a lot of fun. To date, this is my favorite steampunk novel I have ever read. The hero is sexy as hell, the heroine is kick-ass while still remaining emotionally vulnerable, and the world setup is simply fabulous...and I have to admit I did an embarrassing happy dance when I found out this is only the first of a series of novels and novellas! Check it out and get ready to enter a world both old and new, but very much its own. Enjoy!! Note: My only notable complaint is that our hero went by three different names throughout the novel which was somewhat confusing for me at times. At any given time, he was referenced as The Iron Duke, Trahearn, or Rhys. Yes, his name is Rhys Trahearn and he is also known in this world as The Iron Duke, but it still took a minute to get used to. My favorite quote: “And you’ve just come from Parliament? How are you finding that?” “It’s much like piracy. You tell your enemies that if they don’t fall in line, you’ll leave them to die.” The Iron Seas series includes the following installments (as of April 2015): #0.4-The Blushing Bounder #0.5-Here There Be Monsters #0.6-The Hook #1-The Iron Duke #1.5-Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City #2-Heart of Steel #2.5-Tethered #3-Riveted #3.4-Wrecked #3.5-Part of anthology: Enthralled #4-The Kraken King #4.1-The Kraken King and the Scribbling Spinster #4.2-The Kraken King and the Abominable Worm #4.3-The Kraken King and the Fox's Den #4.4-The Kraken King and the Inevitable Abduction #4.5-The Kraken King and the Iron Heart #4.6-The Kraken King and the Crumbling Walls #4.7-The Kraken King and the Empress's Eyes #4.8-The Kraken King and the Greatest Adventure 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting Steampunk world. Good characters and plot line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog The Iron Duke is England’s hero. The former pirate turned lord saved England from the Horde when he destroyed their tower, freeing people from Horde control. So when Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth is called to investigate a murder that happened on his lawn she approaches with trepidation and a dash of excitement. But the Iron Duke, Rhys Trahaearn, is more than she expected, as is the powerful attraction she feels for him. Together they investigate the killing and discover their may be more to this than a simple murder, the whole of England could once again be at risk… Why did it take so long for me to pick up this book?! Before this I had read a few novellas by Meljean Brook within the Iron Seas series, which all inspired me to add The Iron Duke to my TBR pile, if I had known how much I would have enjoyed it, I would have picked it up immediately.  What fascinated me most about this book was the world that Brooks has created, steampunk is a great genre in allowing authors to let their imagination run rampant. But what I liked about The Iron Duke was although there were some great visuals and original ideas it all made sense and gave the impression that it was well thought out making everything hang together beautifully. It wasn’t just a string of weird and wacky things strung together with a convoluted plot thrown in to try and make sense of it.  As for the romance, not only does Ms Brooks know how to world build, she writes up some pretty potent and sexually charged romance as well. Once again I ask, why didn’t I start this sooner? Rhys and Mina had sexual tension rolling off this book in waves, the pull between them was undeniable and I had a fantastic time watching as their relationship built up from a mutual attraction to so much more.  This was a fantastic read, one of my favourites so far this year, it not only had a great romance, it had a plot that kept me enthralled and has established a world that I can’t wait to read more about. I have just become Meljean Brooks number one fan!
krystolla More than 1 year ago
I don't give out 5 star reviews lightly, but this book deserves it. This is a genre surpassing mix of romance, steampunk, giant squid, pirates, police, murder, mystery, and nanotechnology. The world building is perfect, the slang flawless and everything from vast cultural changes to individual struggles is covered deftly. I would (and have) recommended this book to nearly everyone.
Masquerader888 More than 1 year ago
The Iron Duke, by Meljean Brook, is in my opinion everything steampunk should be. It has a world history that is both far reaching and believable, characters that I feel I got to know throughout the story and gadgetry that far from detracting from the plot were integral to it. It also had enough steam between the characters to make any properly bred Victorian lady give into a fit of the vapors. I am happy to say that no such characters were present to the point of mention in this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"The Iron Duke" was the first book I read under the genre of Steampunk. The  world of Steampunk that Ms. Brook creates was what initially grabbed hold of me. It took a few chapters to get  caught up with the history and gain some understanding of the society that 's  in the story, but after I  gained some understanding, I totally lost myself in the story and couldn't put the book down. In my opinion, the balance between action and romance in this book was perfectly balanced and made reading the book so enjoyable. I could hardly put the book down because I kept wanting to know what was going to happen to Mina (Inspector Wentworth) and Rhys (Trahaearn) next!  Great combination of action/adventure, steampunk, romance (with a dash of wit)!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because one of my favorite authors recommended her on her site. (Ilona Andrews). I picked it up because I am always looking for a new author and I have exhausted every other author I know of. Literally. This book was fantastic. The way I judge a good book is whether I would recommend it to friend and if I would reread it. I would do both with this book.
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