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Cover of Fires of Hell: The Alchemystic by Maureen L. Mills
Released: August 2016
ISBN: 9781310900785
ASIN: B01HDJ53K2
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FIRES OF HELL
The Alchemystic
Author: Maureen L. Mills
Length: Novel
Genre: Steampunk
Price: $4.99

When her captain is murdered and her airship suffers a series of sabotages, airship engineer and rogue pyromancer, Amelia Everley, must put aside her dislike of her new employer, Josiah, and help him save her airship and crew.

But is the destruction aimed at their mysterious government passenger, or is the captain’s killer now after Josiah?

All Amelia knows is, if Josiah can’t learn to respect her skills, she may have to resign herself to working for his rival, Edmund Fairlane.

If, that is, she can bring herself, her crew, and her ship home in one piece.

Excerpt
I swayed in the mouth of a filthy alley not far from the Galata Bridge in the Fatih district of Constantinople, staring down at the man who’d served as my surrogate father for as long as I could remember. The toes of my boots nudged the dark puddle spreading around his head. The slit in his throat gaped black in the moonlit night, a macabre echo of his slack mouth.

No. I must be mistaken. Captain Rollins had remained at the airfield. This couldn’t be him.

But it was.

Bile rose in my throat.

“Melly, lass! What’re you looking at? We have to get back to the ship!” Obadiah’s slurred voice barely registered through the pounding echoes in my head. He staggered from the next alley over, where I’d left him pissing against the wall.

“Obadiah,” I said, sounding hollow even to my own ears. “It’s Captain Rollins. I think… I think he’s…”

“What, drunk? Not he, lass. Captain Rollins knows his limits.” Obadiah peered blearily over my shoulder at the captain’s still form.

“Not drunk.” My head reeled. Too much fermented raki. Too much shock. “He’s dead.”

I sank to my knees, feeling the hot blood seeping through the wool of my uniform’s trousers. My hand shook as I reached for the slash on Captain Rollins’ throat. I needed to stop the flow.

But the captain wasn’t bleeding anymore; not really. No more than a sluggish trickle oozed from the gaping wound, soaking into his normally pristine collar. His eyes stared sightlessly up into the clear night, as if, at the last, he longed for one more glimpse of the sky that had been his home for so many years.

He still felt warm, whether because he hadn’t been dead long or from the stifling, near blood-temperature air, I couldn’t tell.

Obadiah put a hand on the mud-brick alley wall to steady himself and rubbed at his chest, a habit he’d acquired in the last few months. With a name like Obadiah Butterfield, one might expect a round, jolly old man, but he carried corded muscle under his baggy uniform trousers and coat, and could be considered jolly only well after he’d passed three sheets to the wind on his way to unconsciousness.

He’d been nearly in such a state tonight, but now any chance of jollity had fled.

Obadiah stared at the captain’s mortal remains and cursed, using at least five languages and great creativity. I hardly heard him.

I looked over my shoulder at the street. Deserted at this late hour, but for Obadiah and me. If anyone had seen who had done this, they were gone. Impossible to find in Constantinople’s maze of streets.

Obadiah scrubbed a gnarled hand over his age-spotted face. “I always thought I’d go first. That’s how it shoulda been, him being younger and all. He was a good man, our captain. Who would have done this?”

“Captain Rollins was as fine a man as any I’ve ever known. I have no notion who could possibly have hated him at all, let alone enough to slash—” My voice gave out, and I shook my head without looking at Obadiah, unwilling to reveal the moisture filling my eyes. Doughty airmen didn’t cry. I hadn’t when I’d left Maman to join the Mercury’s crew at twelve years of age. I wouldn’t now, ten years later.

“Come away, lass. Naught we can do now, but call the watch.” Obadiah grasped my shoulder, his voice gruff.

I shrugged him off. “You go. I’ll stay with him.”

A small scuffle rose from the depths of the alley beyond me, as of an empty basket tipping over and rolling. Obadiah froze.

“Who’s there?” I called in Turkish, my voice harsh.

What the reviewers are saying
Fires of Hell combines the alluring world of steampunk with a fabulous tale of mystery, sabotage and delicious sprinkled of romance. Ms Mill's (sic) descriptive story telling makes everything from the smallest gadget, to the airships themselves, come to life before the reader's eyes. Both Amelia and Josiah are incredibly complex characters . . . With intelligent dialogue, stubborn lovable characters and mysteries to sold, the reader will want to join the Mercury crew on many mission to come! ~ Amelia Kitch, InD'Tale Magazine

• • •

Great read
Lots of fun. A romp from beginning to end. The characters are fun and the situations marvelous from London to Paris to Constantinople and back. ~ Harrison Banks, Amazon

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Airships and adventure
The Winged Mercury really shines through as its own character, I loved reading about the well-thought-out workings of the ship. The dialogue is snappy and the characters are fully developed. Definitely recommend! ~ Julia, Amazon

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Murder, mayhem and a great, fast-paced historical novel for steam-punk lovers and anyone
I hadn't read steampunk before, but I do enjoy historical novels, so I thought I'd give this one a try. I have to say the quality of the writing was superb, and put me right into the story. I can tell the author (Maureen Mills) had done a lot of research into how air-ships ran as well as steam engines, and chemistry. She knows her subjects. I'm not really into fantasy that much, but the story of a phlog, or pyromancer as the heroine (Amelia Everley) was called, but trying to keep it a secret, didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of this novel. It was all very believable. I found myself rooting for Amelia when faced with the killers. If you're into steampunk, and spunky heroines, this one is a must read. Highly recommended. ~ Tina Foster, Amazon

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I really enjoyed this book. The main character (female) wasn't what I typically find. She was strong, but not trying to manly. And not cutesy, like so many are - making cupcakes, and such. She worked and moved in a man's world in interesting ways. The writing was so good, it didn't get in the way, if you know what I mean. Enough info so you didn't get lost - or overwhelmed. This is a good, good book. Like the cover, too:) ~ Kindle Customer, Amazon

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Love this book and Author!
I finished! I usually take forever to read a book but this really kept me interested. I loved it and wish there was more. You are an extremely talented person and writer. Keep it up and i'll become a bookworm before too long! ~ Jason Rich, Amazon

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Fantastic new author
I'm always on the lookout for books by authors that are either new or that I don't know. I also love SciFi, Steampunk and Fantasy. Particularly in the Steampunk genre it's difficult to find good books. About 1 in 10 are exceptional. This is one of those. It's a really fun Steampunk mystery romance. The world Ms. Mills created is wonderful and different. The characters are well developed and engage your emotions. Overall, a really good book. I"m really looking forward to more books in the series. Please write more books in the series. ~ Book Collector, Amazon

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Fantastic!
I loved the detail of the engines, the spunk and daring of the heroine, and the tension of the romance. Fun world, fun magic system, fun alternate steam-punk history. I must read more! ~ Robin Ambrose, Amazon

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I'm in love with this world
Swashbuckling in air! And a female lead! I'm in love with this world. I want to wake up in an airship. ~ Nikki T, Amazon

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Murder and Science Fiction Driven by Steampunk Fantasy Begins The Alchemystic Series
Descriptive writing balanced with believable dialog in the thirty-three chapters along with well-developed characters create the desire to keep turning the page . . . You must read this book to understand where science fiction, fantasy and steam driven technology either bring this crew home or leaves them to the perils that threaten them with possibly no justice for the dead captain. ~ Cold Coffee Cafe, Amazon

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Great new author
I loved this story. It was fun, exciting and different. Mills writes beautifully and obviously did her research. The details she gives for flying an airship make the story so real. I hope to see another book out by this author soon. I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and it was a pleasure to give. ~ Petticoat Grandma, Amazon

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Move Over, Jules
Strap on your goggles and unholster your gear-laden firearm, there's a brave new steampunk world to jump into. And what a world it is: Murder! Arson! Pyromancers! Author Maureen L. Mills cleverly weaves discriminatory laws against pyromancers into a unique and organic environment of airships, magic and conspiracy. My only complaint is: Where's the next book in the series? ~ K Dougherty, Amazon

 

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