A Study in Ashes by Emma Jane Holloway - Fiction
As part of her devil's bargain with the industrial steam barons, Evelina Cooper is finally enrolled in the Ladies' College of London. However, she's attending as the Gold King's pet magician, handcuffed and forbidden contact with even her closest relation, the detective Sherlock Holmes.
But Evelina's problems are only part of a larger war. The Baskerville affair is finally coming to light, and the rebels are making their move to wrest power from the barons and restore it to Queen Victoria. Missing heirs and nightmare hounds are the order of the day--or at least that's what Dr. Watson is telling the press.
But their plans are doomed unless Evelina escapes to unite her magic with the rebels' machines--and even then her powers aren't what they used to be. A sorcerer has awakened a dark hunger in Evelina's soul, and only he can keep her from endangering them all. The only problem is . . . he's dead.
Praise for Emma Jane Holloway's A Study in Silks
"This book has just about everything: magic, machines, mystery, mayhem, and all the danger one expects when people's loves and fears collide. I can't wait to return to the world of Evelina Cooper!"--Kevin Hearne, New York Times bestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles
"As Sherlock Holmes's niece, investigating murder while navigating the complicated shoals of Society--and romance--in an alternate Victorian England, Evelina Cooper is a charming addition to the canon."--Jacqueline Carey, New York Times bestselling author of the Kushiel's Legacy series
"Holloway takes us for quite a ride, as her plot snakes through an alternate Victorian England full of intrigue, romance, murder, and tiny sandwiches. Full of both thrills and frills."--Nicole Peeler, author of the Jane True series
"A Study in Silks is a charming, adventurous ride with a heroine who is both clever and talented. The brushes with the Sherlock Holmes mythos only add to the fun of this tale, and readers are bound to fall in love with Evelina and the London she inhabits."--Philippa Ballantine, author of Geist
"In A Study in Silks, Emma Jane Holloway has created a wonderful reimagining of the Sherlock Holmes mythos set in a late-Victorian Britain ruled by nefarious industrial titans called steam barons. Holloway's clever writing, attention to detail, and sublime characters forge a fascinating world that combines brass-plated steampunk technology with magic. By turns a coming-of-age story, a gas-lamp thriller, and a whimsical magical fantasy, A Study in Silks is the premiere novel of an author to watch."--Susan Griffith, author of the Vampire Empire series
"Holloway stuffs her adventure with an abundance of characters and ideas and fills her heroine with talents and graces, all within a fun, brisk narrative."--Publishers Weekly
"Splendid . . . The characters are thoroughly charming and the worldbuilding is first-rate."--RT Book Reviews (four stars)
From the Paperback edition.
Not rated (0 Ratings)
London, September 16, 1889
Ladies' College of London
7:10 a.m. Monday
"You are not welcome here," said the man in the quietly understated brown suit. "Forgive my blunt speech, but I cannot make it any more plain. Those of us on the faculty have established policies."
Those of us on the faculty. That meant this man who had interrupted her work was a professor. Evelina Cooper gripped her notebook until her knuckles hurt, wishing it was heavy enough to knock reason into his head. Surely he could see the equipment in this place was infinitely superior to what they had at the Ladies' College. And what harm was there in her using it? She wasn't in anyone's way.
The man waited for her to acknowledge his words--no doubt expecting swift obedience--but Evelina couldn't look at him. A painful knot lodged at the back of her throat, like a stillborn wail of frustration.
"I am happy to assist you in clearing away this equipment," he offered, "and we'll say no more about this incident."
Stubbornness made her stall, and she fiddled with the photograph slipping out from between the pages of her book, tucking it back into place. It was of her uncle Sherlock, his likeness no doubt at home between the ruled pages of formulae and lecture notes. If someone had tried to toss Sherlock Holmes out of a lab, he would have knocked the offender down. But young ladies were expected to be meek and mild.
Marginal politeness was a more attainable goal. "Your offer of assistance is kind, sir, and yet I don't understand why I can't use this facility."
"I think you do. None of the sciences are required for a Lady's Certificate of Arts." He swept a hand around the laboratory. "Therefore, all this is unnecessary for students of the female college."
"I protest that logic, sir." It came out stiff with displeasure, but Evelina knew she had lost.
"Miss, be reasonable."
"I am perfectly reasonable, sir, which is why I am astonished by this restriction." Evelina twisted her silver bracelets around, fingers alive with agitation.
Her gaze searched the high-ceilinged room, though there was nothing to find in the gray shadows. The laboratory, with its rows of tables and shelves of gleaming equipment, was empty this early in the morning. Most of the students were still groping for their second cup of tea. And the fact that the door to the lab had been locked hadn't slowed her down for more than half a minute.
He gave her a hard look from under beetling eyebrows. He wasn't one of the creaky old dons of the University of Camelin--not yet, anyhow--but he had perfected the glower. "Perhaps you should consider something in the line of elocution or moral philosophy."
Evelina bit her tongue. Do my morals appear to need philosophy, sir? Outside of picking the lock, that is?
The man harrumphed at her silence. "Domestic management, then. Or maybe literature." He pronounced the latter with a curl of the lip.
Evelina looked away before her temper led her down a regrettable path. She had powers this man had no idea about. She could command spirits of earth and tree. She had dabbled in sorcery and tasted death magic. She had nearly bled to death in a Whitechapel gutter and had made enemies and allies of some of the most powerful men in Mayfair--one of whom had bound her magic to his service with the pretty silver bracelets she was forced to wear. And yet she couldn't get a seat in a proper chemistry class.
At last, she let out a sigh. "I am an eager student of languages and literature, but I am here to study science."
"A worthy ambition," said the man. He might have bottled the tone and put it on the shelf...
A Study in Ashes
By: Emma Jane Holloway