The Janus Affair
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Harper Voyager, May 29 2012, $7.99
On the hypersteam train, Lena cries out “Eliza, help me” just before she vanishes in a lightning flash. Eliza Braun saw the woman vanish and realized she was asking her to rescue her. A member of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, Eliza is used to working oddities so with her partner archivist Wellington Thornhill Books, Esquire plans to investigate and find the woman. Instead she is told to back down as field agent Bruce Campbell leads the inquiry.
Eliza learns that Lena is not the first suffragist to disappear into thin air. As such she vows to keep her visiting New Zealand friend Kate Sheppard safe over the objection of her superiors. As more suffragists vanish, someone assaults Eliza in her home and Books confronts visiting Douglas Sheppard as he wants him to leave Eliza alone in spite of her welcoming him. Soon the two MPO operatives realize nothing short of the Crown is in peril by someone who purposely placed pathetic Campbell in charge of the case.
The latest Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences steampunk fantasy (see Phoenix Rising) is a great thriller as they defy orders to confront a diabolical foe. Though the prime plot is thin but brilliant, fast paced from the opening Lady Vanishes, fans will enjoy the brain and the brawn as they once again set forth to save mighty England.