A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel
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Wherein the Perils of Train Travel Are Made Plain
It was the smell—the smell of metal baking under a summer sun—that alerted Lena to the terrible fact that her getaway had been a failure.
The sharp, hot odour burned her nostrils, reawakening the blind panic she had pushed back earlier in the evening. Now it wrapped invisible, chilling tendrils around her throat again.
Unconsciously, she touched her face with one gloved hand, wincing as her skin flared under even this lightest of contact. Still, if a light sunburn was the worst she’d got away with, then she would not complain—not with what she had witnessed.
Lena had nearly been lulled to sleep with the repetitive rattling of the train, being wedged between its window and a rather rotund woman with a hatbox perched on her lap. Even after what she had seen back in Edinburgh, she dared to take some reassurance once the hypersteam had reached full speed. Her next stop would be London. She would rush home to Adelaide, hold her close, and then together they would pack up Lily and head out from the city. Having a plan, even as threadbare as hers, added to her sense of security, like that of a babe in a mother’s arms. That was before the scent tickled Lena’s nose, sending her blood into a heady rush. Every primitive sense screamed at her, Run. Run now!
Ignoring propriety and decorum, she shoved her way past the damnable woman—not even bothering to excuse her lack of manners as the lady’s ridiculous hatbox tumbled to the floor. Outraged complaints of her fellow passengers packed tight in this third-class car were reduced to distant clatter as she took long strides down its length. Manners and decorum held no consequence to her now. Had they known what she knew—witnessed for themselves what had happened to Maude Wilkinson—they would have understood. Undoubtedly, they would have joined her in a terrified flight.
She rested one hand on her stomach while her other clutched at her skirts, lifting them slightly. Her stride grew longer, then faster. Against the momentum of the train she felt that sinking illusion that she was only running in place. Beneath her corset, her heart raced as fast as the random thoughts flashing in her mind. Why didn’t she wear trousers this morning? They would have been so much more efficient when running for one’s life.
What of Adelaide, waiting at home? What would her love think if she didn’t come back? Would she believe Lena had abandoned her and their sweet Lily?
What if—heaven forbid—the abomination caught her?
The desire to live, to escape, choked her throat, so huge that it seemed impossible. Yet Lena had seen so many impossible things today. So many. Too many.
She stumbled to the third-class door, and the rush of winter’s chill cleared her mind as well as stirred the passengers unfortunate enough to be in the seats closest to the junction between cars. The bitter cold lingered against her exposed skin when she slipped into second-class.
Another two carriages remained ahead, and then came the private compartments of first-class. One more car, after this one.
From the book THE JANUS AFFAIR: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Copyright C 2012 by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris. Reprinted by permission of Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Suffering suffragettes—the women of Britain are vanishing! Young, old, rich, poor, these missing members of the gentler sex are united by one common belief: Women deserve the right to vote. A bold idea, but not one deserving of disappearance!
When a passenger on Britain’s hyper steam train vanishes before the very eyes of Wellington Books and Eliza Braun—secret agents of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences—the game is afoot. Can they solve the mystery with traitors, turncoats, the queen of the underworld, assassins on ornithopters and (worst of all) the return of an old flame in their way?
Authors Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine make a smashing return to their vivid Victorian world of science and the supernatural in The Janus Affair!
Hardcover Book : 432 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins ( June 01, 2012 )
Item #: 13-600269
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 17.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I lost a lot of sleep reading this book. Pip and Tee seem to have hit their stride and there aint no stopping them now! Write faster, please! Recommend. Also Order of Deacons.
Reviewer: Barbara M
I enjoyed the first in this series-Phoenix Rising-but this is SOOO much better. Pip and Tee seem to be growing more accomplished in leaps and bounds at this point.I found myself still awake at 4:30AM reading. At this discovery I found myself both praising the book for being so good, and cursing away that it had trapped me and thus robbed me of my sleep for the day(and night!). An action packed, page turning wonder filled with mysterious inventions, creepy villains, both good and neferious deeds, and characters with plenty of depth. This is now one of my favorite series. Highly recommend. And write faster Pip and Tee!
Reviewer: Robert W
Love this series; great characters with depth; a multi-layered plotline, again with depth; mysteries opened and solved, and more mysteries opened for the next time around. Can't wait for the next one. And speaking of which. can't wait for Club to put the upcoming 'Order' omni on so I can order and read it!
Reviewer: William H