REVIEW: The Jackal’s House – Lancaster’s Luck Book #2- Author Anna Butler, Narrator: Gary Furlong

The Jackal's House Book Cover The Jackal's House
Lancaster's Luck Book #2
Author: Anna Butler, Narrator: Gary Furlong
Steampunk, Science Fiction, LGBTQ Romance
Decent Fellows Press
Dec, 28, 2022
11 hrs 14 minutes

Book two in the best-selling Lancaster's Luck M/M Steampunk trilogy.

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy?

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalate to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

Review by Ulysses Dietz

Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

Once more, Anna Butler’s wonderful steampunk fantasy is brought to life by Gary Furlong’s marvelous reading.

The second of the Lancaster’s Luck series, this adventure romance is set in the steampunk version of Victoria’s England – known as the Imperium Britannicum. The aristocracy we know doesn’t exist: instead, various “houses” rule the various aspects of the country and the empire. The houses are somewhere between corporate entities and mafia families, controlling the political workings of the world. These days, it might cut a little close to the bone, but it’s a clever twist on reality that leaves the reader with a recognizable time and place in which to ground their understanding of the story.

Rafe Lancaster (Minor House Stravaigor) and Ned Winter (Convocation House Gallowglass) are lovers – although the world cannot know, because the biases of Victorian England are part of this reality, too. Rafe finds himself back in the pilot’s seat when he must accompany Ned and his son Harry to Ned’s annual archaeological dig in Egypt. What at first seems like a stroke of luck becomes increasingly sinister as bad things begin to happen at the site of Ned’s dig on the banks of the Nile.

Ned and Rafe loom large, as expected, in this story; after all, it is their developing love for each other that forms the ironic core of the narrative. I say ironic because Rafe’s sudden closeness to the heir apparent of the most powerful of the Imperium’s houses puts him in a very strange position. Furlong’s agile voice brings to life all the other characters who put Ned and Rafe’s friendship into high relief – from the ruthless House Princeps of Stravaigor, to the various players in the crowded field of Egyptology, each of whom has reason to be envious of Ned Winter’s career.

The author, for her part, manages to vividly render the visual power of Egypt, when tourism and archaeology were two of the country’s largest sources of income. We even get a visit from Howard Carter, the man who will eventually discover the tomb of Tutankhamen. Between the author’s skilled writing and the narrator’s voice, the book is captivating and fun.

I look forward to the third Audible installment.

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