The Undying Legion
Crown and Key, #2
Clay & Susan Griffith
Genre: Steampunk/Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
Date of Publication: June 30, 2015
Number of pages: 338
Cover Artist: Gene Mollica
With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?
When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim’s heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.
But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.
I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, The Shadow Revolution, and though I wasn't chosen to receive an ARC of this one, I still made sure that it had a spot on my TBR/Review stack. Undying Legion picks up shortly after the events in book one. This time the story begins opens with Malcolm, our shoot-first-ask-questions-later, big gun toting Scotsman.
While on the hunt through the lowest parts of London for any world on the street of anything strange, he gets a tip to check out some unusual activity at a church. There he finds a woman sacrificed in a church. First thing he does is to call in Simon and Kate, the other two members of our heroic trio.
It's not long before they are another conspiracy is being chased down and uncovered. Instead of werewolves and homunculus creatures, this time it's zombies, mummies and William Blake poetry. Think of a kind of cross between Night of the Living Dead and The Mummy. But that's not all! We see a return of our favorite secondary characters: Penny, Charlotte, Imogen, and Hogarth. Most didn't play as large a roll in this book as the last, but that doesn't stop them from being memorable.
There were plenty of fight scenes in this book (undead, hello) and even some romance, but for some reason, this book just didn't have the hold on my attention that the first one did. Why? I'm not sure, but I still didn't feel a real connection with the characters. Even with all the action going on, they just felt very stand-offish. Overall, I did enjoy the book though and gave it 3 stars.