Book Reviews

The Engineer (Magic & Steam 1) by C.S. Poe at Emporium Press

Genre Gay / Historical / Steampunk / 19th Century / Western / Cowboys / Agents/Spies / Officers of the Law / Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 28-May-2020

Book Blurb

1881—Special Agent Gillian Hamilton is a magic caster with the Federal Bureau of Magic and Steam. He’s sent to Shallow Grave, Arizona, to arrest a madman engineer known as Tinkerer, who’s responsible for blowing up half of Baltimore. Gillian has handled some of the worst criminals in the Bureau’s history, so this assignment shouldn’t be a problem. But even he’s taken aback by a run-in with the country’s most infamous outlaw, Gunner the Deadly.

Gunner is also stalking Shallow Grave in search of Tinkerer, who will stop at nothing to take control of the town’s silver mines. Neither Gillian nor Gunner are willing to let Tinkerer hurt more innocent people, so they agree to a very temporary partnership.

If facing illegal magic, Gatling gun contraptions, and a wild engineer in America’s frontier wasn’t enough trouble for a city boy, Gillian must also come to terms with the reality that he’s rather fond of his partner. But even if they live through this adventure, Gillian fears there’s no chance for love between a special agent and outlaw.

First edition published under the title Gunner the Deadly in the anthology Once Upon a Time in the Weird West published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2016. This edition is entirely revised, newly expanded, and book one in the exciting new steampunk series, Magic & Steam.

Book Review

“Sometimes, someone comes into your life, so unexpectedly, takes your heart by surprise, and changes your life forever.” ~ unknown

Due to his expertise as a magic caster with the Bureau of Steam & Magic, Special Agent Gillian, of ‘The Engineer' by C.S. Poe, has come from Washington to apprehend a dangerous criminal, Milo Ferguson, known as The Tinkerer, who blew up half of Baltimore.

It seems that Gillian's introduction to the town of Shallow Grave, Arizona, is trying to put him in one! After stepping down from the stage, he finds himself in the middle of a gun battle. Gillian is startled and angry. As he ducks behind a wagon, a tall man dressed all in black comes by with guns blazing. As Gillian attempts to arrest him for gunfighting, they are distracted by a mechanical device that turns into a gatling gun and starts spraying bullets everywhere, chasing them down the street. Gillian's opponent becomes his ally. However, Gillian isn't entirely helpless; he can manipulate electricity; he uses it to destroy the murderous contraption.

The tall cowboy is impressed, but they are only safe for a moment. Milo Ferguson, the man who is trying to kill them, will not stop until he does. When they are secure, at least for the moment, they get around to properly introducing themselves. Gillian discovers that his rescuer is none other than Gunner the Deadly, an infamous outlaw whose bounty posters he's seen many times, even though they don't do him justice. It just so happens that they are both there to ‘take care’ Milo Ferguson. Gunner suggests that they team up to eliminate the threat.

Gunner is held in high regard by the townsfolk who see him as their protector. As disconcerting as it is to Gillian, Gunner brings out a passion in him that he has tried to hide all his life; his attraction to other men. Finally, Gillian agrees to what he believes will be a very temporary alliance. They set off to capture Milo Ferguson. Milo is most assuredly insane, but he's also brilliant at creating formidable inventions that he uses for nefarious purposes. Milo wants the rights to the nearby mines and is willing to do anything he has to do to have them, even if it includes murder.

Gillian was definitely not my idea of a city slicker much less a law enforcement officer, and Gunner's Robin Hood-like reputation was refreshing. The steampunk creations were imaginative, as was the heroes' way of defeating them. The romantic element in this story embodied the theme of finding love where you least expect it. I had read the short story that this book is based on. If you liked that one, you will love this version and if you haven’t read it, you need to or you will be missing a real treat. Thanks, C.S. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The anthology this short story was published in was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 84 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 28-May-2020
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link