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Summary was just over the character limit, so turned it into the Foreword, instead. (Chapters divided into parts in order to make for a more digestible read.)

Fantasy / Adventure
Gage McKinney
Age Rating:


Under the new, iron-fisted rule of young Empress Victoria and the delegation of her council of lord regents, the Empire has declined into a realm of strife, its people ruled on the pretenses of fear brought about by the empress’s recent enforcement of a militarized law amended to suit her purposes . . . whatever those might be. . . .

For the rich and blue-blooded, things are as they’ve always been: arranged to work in accord with their influence and nobility. For the poor and middle-class, however. . . . Coercion, terror tactics, nights spent behind bars, and black smoke-spewing factories erected in neighborhoods once praised and beloved for the quiet communities that spawned of them, now marred by pollution and urchins running amok from the hovels they’ve been driven from, their knaves and cutpurses for parents—those who haven’t yet been locked away—wheeling and dealing and stealing there way just to simply survive.

The resulting impact of the schism formed between the commonfolk and aristocrats of the Empire’s populace, besides for that already mentioned: opium dens sprouting up like weeds in every district, rife with powder, cakes, bricks, and, in the case of the richest and most frequented of them, its liquid form, laudanum. Statements from the empress claim this to be in direct correlation to the influx of refugees arriving from the Orient in the east, a country long plagued with its own troubling rule. But, while this may play a part—a small one—anyone in possession of an able mind can recognize it is largely despair the cause; a despondent people seeking respite from the horrors of their day-to-day. May the Lord Himself descend from Heaven Above before Empress Victoria and her regency ever admit to the truth of this matter, however. . . .

But amongst those who would look to profit off of others’ pain, there are those, too, who would look to profit off the profiteers. Enter Booker and his lawless band of ne’er-do-wells, taking from the rich . . . and getting richer for it (this is no Robin Hood tale). But little do they know the lengths to which the empress is willing to go to cleanse her country of the reprobates making lowlife junkies of her people. And less do they know of the coming turmoil that is bound to throw their chaotic lives for an even more turbulent loop . . .

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Further Recommendations

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jhdm4me: Good story but not really cohesive. Felt rushed with a lot of information left out

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