…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.
Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.
Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.
(Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)
I read the first edition of Noble Metals back in 2012 when it was first released by a now-defunct publisher. I loved the novella – even if it was categorized as historical/steampunk, a genre that was not high on my favorite list. When Boys in Our Books was offered to review the re-edited and re-expanded version, and when I saw that the expansion was over 10,000 words, I jumped immediately for the chance to review. I rarely do a re-read but I wanted to see if my initial 4-stars rating would stand the second time around.
So did it? Indeed it did…
Right from the beginning, I felt the chemistry between Robert – the young male prostitute – and John Fauth, a professor and scientist who came to the brothel looking for information to find men to be part of his team. Duly noted that they started their connection physically – Robert was a prostitute after all – but then the romantic relationship was built up nicely and slowly during their travels, they started to get connected more than just physically. They shared stories and Robert could see why John wanted to protect his invention while John was charmed with Robert’s loyalty.
I read this while having the original format opened on my computer as well, so I could see the differences. I must say that the expansion was quite significant to make the story feel improved and the romance felt better developed. Especially since there were more point of views from John – through his written journal.
I did a personal steampunk challenge a couple of months ago and I realized that I struggled with the combination of historical and technology/futuristic/sci-fi element of steampunk. However, this one felt light and I had no issues at all with the mechanical elements that Ms. Witt brings to this world build. I’m not sure how steampunk loyalists take it though.
So, in conclusion, I loved the improved version probably a bit more than the original one. If you want to read light steampunk with likeable characters, you can try this one. I want to read the next book written in this world, that’s for sure.