I have to admit. This cover and story blurb caught my eye. Sherlock Holmes meets The Great Showman meets National Treasure? In steampunk? Sign me up!
I can’t wait to read it. After Curse Bound‘s launch, I will be catching up on my ever-growing to-read list, and this book is in the top ten. Oooooh. I think it’s almost time for a top reads for the summer post. Ha!
Anyway, I am excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for this book and even more excited about H. L. Burke joining us and sharing a bit about this unique world she has created.
So without further ado, welcome H. L. Burke!
Welcome to Versia! City of the Arts! The home of the biggest, brightest theaters in all of the Republic!
The city of Versia is built around the arts. The citizens live and breathe them, and theater folk are held in high regard. Dancers, singers, actors, and showmen of all sorts flock to Versia to make their names. Some end up as waiters, shopgirls, and factory workers in the less flashy districts of the city, but for many they find their dreams in the Theater District in the heart of Versia.
While many smaller venues exist throughout the city, the most famous and esteemed is The Curiosity, a grand old building that has stood at the center of the city for over a century. Visionary Jandro Curio, a man from a circus family, was one of the first to realize that static locations could be just as successful as traveling shows and allow for far grander displays. Partnering with, and later marrying, a young inventor named Lexia Dalhart, he built the grandest theater with a great stage and an auditorium that could seat twelve hundred patrons (later expanded upon with the addition of a balcony and additional box seats). Though many entrepreneurs have followed in Curio’s footsteps, opening various venues in what we now call the Theater District, surrounding The Curiosity as well as scattered throughout the city, The Curiosity is the gem in the city’s well-spangled crown.
Like any establishment with a long history, The Curiosity has gathered its share of rumors and legends surrounding it. These range from the harmless (that the theater contains secret passages and hidden rooms), to the exciting (such as the persistent but fanciful story regarding a treasure secreted within the old structure), to the downright morbid (a gruesome story that resurfaces every few decades that the current propmaster is switching out bits and pieces of his flesh and blood dancers with mechanical “improvements”). However, in spite of this nonsense, the theater remains a shining beacon of the arts that anyone would be happy to visit.
The secret lies with the Heart.
Born with a magical knack for manipulating emotions, Leodora’s only dream is to ensure her talented little sister dances on the biggest, brightest stage in the Republic: The Curiosity, a grand old theater of tradition and innovation. After escaping a cruel carnival, Leo secures her sister a place in the Curiosity’s chorus line, and herself a job as a professional audience member, swaying the crowd’s mood with her magic. The girls have a home for the first time in their lives.
Then a tragic accident darkens the theater. A greedy businessman begins blackmailing Leo, and financial woes threaten to close the show forever. The Curiosity’s sole hope lies in a mythical power source hidden beneath the maze-like passages and trapdoors of the theater—the Heart. And Leo’s only friend Paxton, nephew of the theater’s stagemistress, is the key to finding it.
While Leo and Paxton hunt for the Heart, the blackmailer’s threats loom larger. Mysterious figures, cryptic clues, and deadly traps hinder the search at every turn. If the friends cannot recover the Heart in time, Leo and her sister will be cast out of the only home they’ve ever known, and the final curtain will fall on The Curiosity.
Enter a world reminiscent of The Greatest Showman, with a puzzle worthy of Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure, in this new Steampunk Fantasy from H. L. Burke.
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and was always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes that home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.