I get a lot of review copies in the mail, and I buy a great many books online (Amazon tells me I’ve placed 15 orders in the past 30 days, which seems like kind of a lot. And it’s probably best if we don’t discuss eBay.) But I still enjoy my Saturday trips to the bookstore, where I can leisurely browse Barnes & Noble’s SF & Fantasy section. Even for someone who puts effort into staying on top of SF publishing every single day, there are always surprises.
It was a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago when I stumbled on A. A. Aguirre’s intriguing two-volume steampunk/noir/crime series Apparatus Infernum, which consists of Bronze Gods and Silver Mirrors. A.A. Aguirre is the pseudonym for Ann & Andres Aguirre, a husband-wife writing team. Ann Aguire, as we’ve noted previously is an extraordinarily prolific fantasy and SF writer, producing some 22 novels in five years, including the Sirantha Jax science fiction adventures, the Corine Solomon urban fantasies, the YA post-apocalyptic dystopian Razorland trilogy, the dark SF series The Dred Chronicles, and many more.
The Apparatus Infernum series looks like a pleasing combination of fantasy and noir drama… and it has the added attraction of not being ten books long. Here’s the description for the first book.
Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.
Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic — and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.
Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered — her body charred to cinders — Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it’s clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…
And Silver Mirrors:
As powerful magic comes creeping back, dangerous days are dawning…
Criminal Investigation Division inspectors Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko were lucky to make it out of their last mission alive. Since then, strange troubles have plagued the city of steam and shadows, apparently as a result of magic released during the CID inspectors’ desperate interruption of an ancient ritual. The fabric of the world has been unsettled, and the Council has assigned Mikani and Ritsuko to investigate.
They soon discover that matters are worse than they imagined. Machines have developed minds of their own, cragger pirates are raiding the seas with relentless aggression, and mad elementals are running amok. As the chaos builds to a crescendo, Mikani and Ritsuko must fight a war on two fronts — and this time, they may not be able to turn the deadly tide…
Both are still in print in mass market paperback from Ace, priced at $7.99 for both the print and digital editions. Here’s the complete publishing deets:
Bronze Gods (336 pages, April 30, 2013)
Silver Mirrors (336 pages, April 29, 2014)
Both covers are by Cliff Nielsen.
See all of our recent reports on the best in Series Fantasy here.