Abandoned as a young child, plucky, seventeen-year-old Melba was raised like a boy to pick pockets and run messages in the poor outer circles of Royal Malverne Isle. But she longs to move up the criminal hierarchy and become a spy. When nineteen-year-old Turk, a spymaster and local folk hero, accepts her pledge to join his gang, she thinks the Great Earth Jinn has heard her prayer. With his exotic, dark southern looks and wealthy lifestyle in the inner circle, Turk fascinates her. Not only is he a famous spy, he also wields earth magic, and he teaches her to raise tiny, playful Jinns from flowers. But Turk is not who he seems. He follows the orders of a higher power and his master has secret plans for Melba, plans that make her a target of the evil Royal Victualler’s foul magic, plans that challenge Melba and Turk’s beliefs about life and duty, plans that tear them apart, just as they discover what it means to fall in love.
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With steampunk done this beautifully, it was easy to slip into this world and fall in love with the characters. Ms. Taylor is a master storyteller, capturing the smallest details of world building and character development. Turk is a character I will not soon forget, and was balanced skillfully with the unrepentant and willful Melba. A fantastic book that will leave me searching the shelves for more from this gifted author. Virginia, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More