Ryan Van Loan’s The Sin in the Steel is a multilayered attack on tired adventure tropes. Two mercenaries, wrongly accused, are forced to investigate a crime, one that transforms them and their world forever. A blisteringly paced, amazingly fun and thoughtful read!”
—Fran Wilde, Nebula Award-winning author
“Van Loan’s swashbuckling Watson and Holmes fantasy debut The Sin in the Steel is like a wild ride on a pirate ship. He’s created a vivid and amazing world that readers are going to love from page one.”—K.B. Wagers, author of Behind the Throne
“Ryan Van Loan delivers a swashbuckling romp, demons, pirates, dead gods, (30-50?) feral hogs, a war-weary Watson and a guttersnipe Holmes. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever
“La Mancha and Sancho Panza. Thelma and Louise. Romy and Michele. Like the best buddy pictures, Ryan Van Loan’s debut, The Sin in the Steel, finds all its heart in the space shared by its two wildly divergent protagonists, Buc and Eld. [This] is a blazingly fast book, with a pace that literally never lets up, but Van Loan, with all the skill of a worldbuilder with a dozen books under their belt, sprinkles many little secrets and surprises about his world throughout the action.
“In the spirit of A New Hope, Buc and Eld conclude a story, but stand on a precipice of a much larger narrative that promises to blow the scope of The Sin in the Steel out of the water. If Scott Lynch wrote Pirates of the Caribbean, it’d be a lot like The Sin in the Steel.”—Tor.com
“The Sin in the Steel is a fun romp that plays with familiar genre elements while injections of originality spice up that familiar dish. Ryan Van Loan has crafted a very impressive debut novel and launched a fantasy series that has me eager to read the next installment. Recommended.”—SFFWorld
“Sharpen your poignards and buckle your swashes for some foul-mouthed, high seas, sacrilegious anarchy with your favorite teenage smartass and her soul-searching, shell-shocked best pal. Ryan Van Loan has created a world thick with intrigue in his debut novel and I get a sense that the best is yet to come.”—Fantasy Book Review
“If you ever wanted to read a youthful genderflipped Sherlock Holmes character in a fantasy verse, The Sin in the Steel is definitely for you. The feeling of the novel is in line with the Flintlock fantasy era in the vein of Django Wexler or Brian McClellan but with a much more economics and political focus.”—Nerds of a Feather
“Starts with a bang and never slows down, rollicking through naval battles, sudden betrayals, and plenty of dark magic. This fast-paced high-seas adventure will satisfy genre fans looking for swashbuckling fun.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A surprising duo, 16-year-old genius Buc and discharged soldier Eld support themselves and each other, even as they try to overcome their pasts. Interwoven are Buc’s and Eld’s backstories, which offer a full view of these flawed and witty protagonists, each with a strong emotional story arc. An intriguing fantasy, mixing plenty of mystery and magic to create a smart, fast-paced ride across the seas.”—Library Journal, starred review
“[The] frantic pace and continuous action capture the reader, but behind its frenzy lurks a truly fascinating world. The mysteries are carefully crafted to capture the imagination, and the hectic unravelling of schemes and unearthing of secrets are well worth the effort needed to keep pace.”—BookPage
“The main character, Buc, is absolutely amazing. Not afraid to say what is on her mind, she is snarky and brash and has so many great one-liners. She is clever and witty and has an intriguing backstory, too, which not only adds depth to her character and guides her decisions, but also has a larger effect on the overall narrative, as well. Eld creates much-needed balance in a story that Buc threatens to spin out of control at times. The relationship between and Buc and Eld is one of the best aspects of the book.
“The Sin in the Steel is a fun book with great characters and a whole lot of adventure. It gets my recommendation for fans of fantasy, and for those looking for their next great maritime read, this is it.”—FanFi Addict
DEBUT On the verge of being executed for various counts of murder and larceny, Buc and Eld are brought before a representative of the Kanados Trading Company with a deal: solve the mystery of the trade ships that are disappearing—and live. Buc and Eld have made a name for themselves investigating and solving complex mysteries. A surprising duo, 16-year-old genius Buc and discharged soldier Eld support themselves and each other, even as they try to overcome their pasts. When they discover the pirate queen Widowmaker has taken control of the trade routes, they attempt to take down her ship. Yet pirates are just the beginning, as they face off against zombies, magical Sin Eaters, and an artifact that all of the gods, dead and new, are clamoring to control. Interwoven are Buc's and Eld's backstories, which offer a full view of these flawed and witty protagonists, each with a strong emotional story arc. VERDICT Van Loan's debut is an intriguing fantasy, mixing plenty of mystery and magic to create a smart, fast-paced ride across the seas.—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton
The fate of an empire hangs on the abilities of one girl.
Buc and Eld have made names for themselves as investigators who solve uncrackable cases. But now they’ve gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Found-surrounded-by-dead-bodies-and-still-holding-a-smoking-gun kind of trouble. And their only way out of that trouble is to help the powerful Kanados Trading Company figure out why so many of their ships carrying precious sugar are disappearing...before shortages bring down the entire empire. Fail, and they’ll be executed. Succeed, and Buc wins a seat on the company’s powerful board—which means she has a chance to ensure that no other child has to live through the horrors she saw growing up on the streets. The moment Buc and Eld are launched on their seafaring adventure, they’re plunged into a world of intrigue and violence, chock-full of pirates; the mysterious Sin Eaters, who draw on the power of their Goddess to communicate mind to mind; and the Sin Eaters’ enemies, the priests loyal to the Dead Gods. To succeed and win the power she craves, Buc will have to not only navigate all these uncharted waters, but tame her racing mind, which always sees six steps ahead. Buc’s story starts with a bang and never slows down, rollicking through naval battles, sudden betrayals, and plenty of dark magic. Van Loan packs in almost too many twists, turns, and reversals, and the book at times feels overstuffed with supernatural mysteries, but Buc makes for a prickly, interesting heroine, and her relationship with Eld grounds an otherwise highflying story in emotional truth.
This fast-paced high-seas adventure will satisfy genre fans looking for swashbuckling fun.