Monday, August 20, 2012

Book Review: The Janus Affair

The Janus Affair
A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel

By:  Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris

Publisher:  Harper Voyager

Publish Date:  June 2012

Format:  Paperback 416pgs, pocketbook size

Genre:  Steampunk

Series:  2nd in A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series; 1st book ~ Phoenix Rising
Also affiliated with Tales from the Archives

Recommendation:  Oh bloody right you should!  Steampunk, mystery, adventure, action, good humor, what more can you ask for?

Book Synopsis:
Evildoers beware!  Retribution is at hand, thanks to Britain's best-kept secret agents!!

Certainly no strangers to peculiar occurrences, agents Wellington Books and Eliza Braun are nonetheless stunned to observe a fellow passenger aboard Britain's latest hypersteam train suddenly vanish in a dazzling bolt of lightning.  They soon discover this is not the only such disappearance...with each case going inexplicably unexamined by the Crown.

The fate of England is once again in the hands of an ingenious archivist paired with a beautiful, fearless lady of adventure.  And though their foe be fiendishly clever, so then is Mr. Books...and Miss Braun still has a number of useful and unusual devices hidden beneath her petticoats.

First Sentence:
It was the smell -- the smell of metal baking under a summer sun -- that alerted Lena to the terrible fact that her getaway had been a failure.

My Thoughts and Summary:
Lena disappears before Eliza on the train in a flash of lightning, but just before doing so asks Eliza for help.  Eliza wants and requests the case, but being a Junior Archivist (not on field work) and compromised with knowing the victim, is not given the case.  Agent Bruce Campbell is given the case.  While at a suffragist meeting another lady, one well known to Eliza, is attacked.  Eliza now starts to investigate the case with Wellington's help, and finds it leads to the suffragist women going missing and protecting the one woman who could lead the England Suffragists into a new time.  This particular incident seems to go back several years in the archives when investigated into it, all unsolved and referencing the burnt metal smell and flash of light.  As far away from the past as both our partnered agents might think, it will creep up to them fast here.

Both of our courageous characters are haunted by their history.  One that wants it back and the other who can't forget it.  Eliza's past keeps showing up in London...a suffragist from New Zealand, an old love...all the things that bring Eliza's exiled home fresh to the front of her mind.  We see Eliza with a touch of vulnerability with her yearning for her home land, and missing her family and friends.  Wellington's mind is daunting by his memories of his commanding father.

Boy do I love Wellington and the secrets he has.  We get a small taste of what he has up his sleeves, yet still so mysterious!  I want to tell Eliza, Wellington is much more than she knows...stronger and deadlier than she thinks, yet such a gentleman.  I just love seeing Wellington's spunk.  The secrets he's hiding are starting to seep through the longer he is with the adventurous Eliza, and becoming visible to those around them.

We are sucked into the mystery in the prelude wondering what Lena is running from and why.  Then what the heck happened to her on the train in front of Eliza!?  Shocking!  And the electrifying mystery will have you guessing and looking for clues with our duo.

I have to mention the chapter headings, titles as per say.  Ha ha!  Love these.  They make me smile and give a little of whats to come in the chapter.  And they call Eliza a Pepperpot!

The Ministry Seven is back!  These kids add a lovely touch to the story with Eliza and Wellington.  Almost a family feeling.  There is a young Verity mentioned.  I love Verity!  and so excited to see here status here.  Between listening to the Tales from the Archives and reading the books I know Verity is in the Tales from the Archives, but not 100% sure of Phoenix Rising.  I do enjoy hearing of her again though.  Brilliant young lady.

Speaking of the Tales from the Archives!  It is NOT necessary to listen or read them to enjoy any of these books.  But, yes always a but... But they do give a few back stories you could very well enjoy, especially after reading this book.  If you are curious about Eliza and the happenings related to Kate, you can read or listen to the podcast that highlights this story.  But do take a listen to The Evil that Befell Sampson.  Or you can download the first collection stories in Kindle format (which includes The Evil That Befell Sampson) at:


Now to go with learning about Eliza's past, if you are more curious about Wellington and his father you can learn a touch on that as well with the Tales from the Archives.  We have Sins of the Father, in podcast form.  Or, again, you can download the collection of short stories in Kindle format (including Sins of the Father) at:

I do love seeing our secret agents on a mission, seeing glimpses of Eliza and Wellington enjoying teasing each other, and knowing just how to push each others buttons.  They both know what cards to play and when, with what they do and the secrets each keeps... the secrets might just be the obvious thoughts are just a cover and there is more stewing underneath the layers.

Since I went there with the links on Eliza and Wellington's past, if you are curious to meet Verity, you can listen to the podcast with her in, The Precarious Child.  Or again, download on your Kindle the collection of stories with her tale in it:


Again, I can't wait to get more of Eliza and Wellington in their next adventure!  Of course I know after reading this book where they are going next, and can't wait to get there.  (No, it's not a cliffhanger, just lets you know where they are heading next.)

Do enjoy!

If you would like to purchase a copy of The Janus Affair:
In Print:

In Kindle:



I read this book for review, and my own enjoyment as I love this world created.

27 comments:

  1. Lead me not into temptation - seriously I've promised myself not to start any more books that are part of a series.

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    1. lol! Petty Witter, it is so fun, but I'll try to not tempt. ;D Thank you!

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  2. So glad I'm reading book #1 next! You've been gushing about these books for so long, I just have to read them and join the fan club too! ;)

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    1. Kara-Karina, the first book is fun, but the second book is even better. :D Hope you enjoy the banter between the two!

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  3. As a long time fan of Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris, whom I've had the great pleasure of meeting last year, I'm excited to see that so many others are also enjoying the great work they put out with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences.

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    1. Ken McLaughlin, Oh Pip & Tee are amazing people, and I loved meeting them this year. And yes, Ministry is well worth enjoying. :) Thank you for Stopping.

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  4. The more enthusiastic you get, the more I want to discover this great world! It has reached the point where I am determined to buy book 1 so I can join in the fun! :)

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    1. lol Mirjam, wonderful! Hope you enjoy reading these. I enjoy getting more and more into this world. :) Thank you!

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  5. >Of course you liked it :D if you had not then i would have been shocked ;)

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  6. Okay - I get it! You know I need to read this series ASAP! I have the first book and I need to read soon! :-)

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    1. LOL! Mel, I think you would enjoy this fun duo. And the banter with them. Oh, and London! LOL!

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  7. Oh I enjoyed this one too! I am so stoked that we got to know more about Welly. I'm going to have to play those podcasts some day...

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    1. Melissa (Books&Things) YEs!! So much fun, and YOU HAVE to listen, or read a few of the short stories. At least the two I've mentioned. :) You get to learn about Wellington and his dad in one! And Eliza and what happened in New Zealand to get her kicked out. :D

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  8. Looks great definetly on my to be read list

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  9. this sounds awesome, and now i need to grab book one, i love steampunk and stir in some mystery, suspense, special agents and i am so there!

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    1. Kimba, I've really enjoyed this duo and their mysteries. :) Do hope you get a chance to read and enjoy them. :) Thank you!

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  10. This sounds soooo good! Perhaps this will be the book that will push me to actually read this sort of genre!

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    1. Carole Rae, Oh, I hope you get a chance to try these stories. They are set with a steampunk world, but they are much more than that. :) Thank you.

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  11. Hehe, the first line intrigues me. Sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Jennifer L. Bielman, Oh great! So glad you liked the first line. :) And thank you!

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  12. wow ok I'll have to try this one, I know you got me with this wonderful review. Nice to have a great steampunk book.

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    1. Melliane, Oh I do enjoy this duo and their banter and mysteries all mixed together. :) Hope you like it if you get to try it. :) Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for your review. The book does look amazing.

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    1. Hi Marybelle, thank you for stopping by, and glad you like the looks of this book. :)

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  14. Very nice review. The book sounds good.

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