Saturday, February 14, 2015

Book Review: The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber

Readers of this blog know that I have been really excited about Leanna Renee Hieber's The Eterna Files.  Finally after several months of breathless anticipation the book was released this week by Tor Books.  Let me just say that the wait was worth it!  Full disclosure, I am proud to call Leanna a friend, but my feelings for the book are not distorted by my feelings for the author.  Leanna Renee Hieber is a masterful writer who is a pioneer of the gaslamp fantasy genre.

The Eterna Files begins on April 16, 1865 when a grieving Mary Lincoln summons Clara Templeton, a Spiritualist medium, and her guardian Senator Rupert Bishop to the White House.  President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated and his widow is in the first throes of grief.  The First Lady wants Clara to contact her husband's spirit so that Mary can say her goodbyes.  Overwhelmed by the grief surrounding her, the twelve-year-old medium declares that such a tragedy should never again befall the nation and that America's leaders deserve to be given immortality.  Out of tragedy the Eterna Commission is born.

Seventeen years pass, and the Eterna Commission, a collection of scientists, theorists, theologians, and paranormal researchers are on the brink of discovering immortality when tragedy strikes again.  In one mysterious afternoon the Eterna Commission's scientists are killed by a mysterious force.  It is left to Clara Templeton and her band of paranormal researchers to discover the cause of the scientists death and the whereabouts of their research files.

Across the Atlantic Ocean in Victorian England, police inspector Harold Spire is on the verge of breaking an body snatching ring with ties to the aristocracy when he is summoned to Buckingham Palace.  Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, has selected Spire to head a classified unit charged with protecting England's version of the Eterna Commission.  Despite America's best efforts to keep its research secret, England has learned about the States quest for immortality and wants to beat the Americans at their own game.  But there is a problem, the British scientists have all mysteriously disappeared around the same time that disaster struck their American rivals.  Spire is forced to abandon his investigation into the body snatching ring and given the unwanted task to protect the new Omega team reporting to the mysterious and flamboyant Lord Black, a powerful member of the House of Lords.  Rose Everhart, a gifted clerk who works covertly for Lord Black is assigned to be Spire's assistant.  The investigation into missing scientists begins to reveal disturbing connections to the body snatching ring and the mystery that befell the American team.

The Eterna Files is an intriguing tale of ghosts, spirits, the occult, politics, and espionage with complex and engaging characters.  Leanna Renee Hieber has brought the Victorian world to life in her novel.  The world in which her characters reside in is both romantic and terrifying.  The late nineteenth-century was on the precipice of immense change--a change that was both intoxicating and terrifying, which is reflected within the novel.  Leanna Renee Hieber knows her history and employs her knowledge well in her novel.  The Eterna Files simple crackles with the energy of the era, and is a haunting, lush, and intelligent fantasy.

The Eterna Files is the start of a new series by Leanna Renee Hieber and I can't wait to read the next installment as this novel ends on a terrifying cliffhanger.  This novel is simply amazing!

The Eterna Files on Amazon!

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