This is enjoyable, as all of these stories have been, and the amalgamation, now, of Burroughs (and even Anthony Hope!) into this universe is fun. The main purpose is more serious now (as long hinted)….
Rich Horton, Locus
Like every installment of the Lucy Harper chronicles, this book was an absolute blast. The camp is just so well done. The subtle references to Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, etc., are perfect. This is pulp science fiction the way it was meant to be. I want a dozen more of these at least...
So what to make of this pulp-hop mashup? Well, it resembles Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Farmer’s ‘Wold-Newton’ crossovers. But neither Moore nor Farmer, despite writing Image of the Beast and Lost Girls, wrestles with social injustice and LGBT issues as closely as Ward. Unlike them, she refuses to write erotica or pornography. Her Lucy is not ‘modern’ in her attitudes, nor is Clarimal/Carmilla. A trained fencer and experienced hiker, Ward writes action well, and pays attention to historical and linguistic research. Her stories, though fantasy, are realistic, and not about the experience of reading (the so-called ‘second-artist effect’). This reviewer cannot claim to be unprejudiced, but Cynthia Ward does more than scratch the surface of the vast legacy of pulp. Recommended.
J. Comer, Cirsova
Like the previous stories in this series, the combination of elements is unique and surprisingly well blended into a page turner! There are underlying messages about imperialism and social acceptance that are subtle but strong.
My favorite part of this installment was the magical and unexpected setting for the action. I can’t spoil it, but it seems there is not a classic mystery, spy, sci-fi or fantasy reference that is safe from Ward’s skill and imagination. This is a great addition to the series.
Melissa, Queer Sci Fi
We’re back with Lucy Harker and her lover, the vampire Carmilla, in the midst of a World War I spliced with the literature produced roughly around that time, with a particular interest in early science fiction, horror, and adventure stories. After discovering that the world is hollow in the previous book, this book moves the action decidedly into that space, full of dinosaurs, cave people, women warriors, and sentient dinosaur-people. It’s hardly a sight-seeing journey, though, and Lucy has to contend with a lot while trying to retrieve her captured mother from the clutches of an evil German super-scientist. The piece is packed with action and drama, expanding on some of the world building the previous installments have established, complicating what it means to be a vampire, and what it means to have a soul, in a reality that seems at times as mercurial as fiction. As always, the piece is consistently entertaining and occasionally profound. ... It’s a fun and frantic run of a book, and so worth checking out!
Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
Cynthia Ward’s precisely executed diction and old-fashioned period grammar evoke early genre fiction classics in a delightful mix of adventure and philosophy.
Michelle Ristuccia, Tangent
My favorite part of this installment was the magical and unexpected setting for the action. I can’t spoil it, but it seems there is not a classic mystery, spy, sci-fi or fantasy reference that is safe from Ward’s skill and imagination. This is a great addition to the series."
Melissa Brus, Paranormal Romance Guild