The Jackal’s House by Anna Butler Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps! We have Anna Butler stopping by today with the tour for her new release The Jackal’s House, we have a brilliant guest post from Anna, a great new excerpt, Shorty’s reviews and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~

The Jackal’s House

(Lancaster’s Luck 02)
by

Anna Butler

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy…

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

 Dreamspinner Press ebook  | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Rake’s Progress, Hogarth.

Corsets Unlaced by Anna Butler!

The Georgian and the Regency periods were… well, fun. Well, fun if you were rich, at a time when society was all glitter and excitement and excess. And relatively tolerant. What you did behind closed doors stayed there.

The Victorians, though, were a different kettle of fish. They looked back on past excesses with a sharp intake of breath and more moral hysteria than their maiden aunt faced with a drunk roué in a dark alley. The increasingly influential middle classes swung the pendulum in the opposite direction, into decorum, moral rectitude and puritanical repression. They kept themselves and their public morals as tightly laced as a lady’s corsets.

Oscar Wilde

Sodomy, if you were caught, had been a crime for centuries. Lesbian activity was not illegal (and I don’t think it ever has been), but male homosexual activity most definitely was. However, it seems most same-sex relationships were tolerated as long as they were discreet, hidden away and secret. Laws prohibiting ‘indecency’ in public had always kept gay men pretty closeted, but it wasn’t until as late as 1885 that this tolerance got turned onto its head, when a new law made any form of gay sex behind closed doors an explicit criminal offence. And apparently the legislation provided the police with a new angle to deal with ‘sexual inverts’. The police didn’t have to prove actual sodomy—difficult without witnesses, I suspect—but merely a lesser charge of gross indecency, the charge that saw Oscar Wilde imprisoned ten years later in 1895. Add to this new legislation, the frisson of public horror and fascination when, in 1890, a scandal broke involving a male brothel in Cleveland Street, and you can clearly see that gay men were vulnerable and criminalised.

That 1885 legislation wasn’t repealed until 1967, btw. Which is depressing.

I’ve been asked why, if I’ve altered history to add in things like aeroships and aether-powered pistols, I couldn’t have changed things like society’s attitude to gay men, to make a happy ever after ending possible for Rafe and Ned.

Well, why didn’t I?

Because if I took out everything that made the Victorian era Victorian, I might as well have set it in the present day. The dilemma I faced was simply to decide if the (popular and fashionable) steampunk aesthetic is more important than the world it’s set in. Is steampunk set in Victorian times just so aficionados can get away with wearing scarlet corsets and brass goggles? Or is it a Victorian tale, filled with characters with that moral Victorian mindset, but with a technological twist?

Well… let me just say that I didn’t plump for the steampunk aesthetic.

Rafe doesn’t wear corsets (sadly!) and he doesn’t wear brass goggles. He does fly an aeroship powered by luminiferous aether, but at heart he’s a Victorian gentleman, who’s lived all his live with that repressive moral code. He’s lived his real, emotional and sexual life in the shadows, because to come out of them risks everything he holds dear. He’s a man shaped by caution, by the need for discretion and privacy. Wilde’s fall from grace was an object lesson that men like Rafe took to heart.

All the same, gay people didn’t go away. They hid, instead. London and the other big cities had a vibrant underground gay scene with known pick-up and (relatively) safe meeting places well used by ‘rent boys’ (known as Mary Annes). Some of the venues were relatively open—the Tea Kettle café in Soho, for example, and the Long Bar at the Trocadero, opened by Lyons in 1896 on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly Circus. One habitué of the Long Bar during WWI wrote “Sunday morning at the Trocadero Long Bar… was a recognized gathering place… one heard news of friends, swapped experiences of the previous evening and usually ended up in a luncheon party, going on afterwards to pass a lazy afternoon at Alex’s hotel in Covent Garden. There was nothing in the nature of an orgy about these Sunday afternoons. Many of the company would be on leave and wanted to enjoy the comforts of civilization and the company of their fellows.”

And, of course, Margrethe’s. Not a real place, sadly, but in the Lancaster’s Luck world, the only gentleman’s club in Londinium that caters for those whom Rafe describes as “…confirmed bachelors, if you know what I mean. And I expect you do.” Rafe is, of course, a member in good standing. Margrethe’s, in Rafe’s world, was the place to meet other gentlemen of a like mind to himself. One day in 1899, he meets one Edward Fairfax Winter there, Ned Winter. Rafe’s Ned. The rest, as they say, is fate and history, adventure and derring-do.

While today we might deplore the need for hiding, to Rafe it was the only way to live safely. Take that away, and he’d be a very different sort of character.

And, you know, I rather like him as he is.

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New Excerpt!

“We have a thirty-minute window before there’s a commercial flight.” Haines gestured with his remaining hand toward the front window and the view of the aerodrome. “Shall we?”

My mouth was dry. All the moisture in me was in my hands. I had to take my hand away from the control yoke—the joystick—to wipe sweaty palms against my trouser leg.

She moved slowly under her own power down the access road to the aerostrip itself. Once at the end of the strip, I halted her, keeping the engine revs high. Haines tapped the gauge showing engine power. “She’s much heavier and bigger than your old aerofighter. You’ll need to be heavier on the throttle, push her hard until the power level hits the gold line, then pull her up sharp but smooth. Ready?”

Why did people always ask you that just before you did something massively unwise? Still, onward for Queen and country. I took a rather shaky but deep breath and started her down the runway, listening to Haines’s instructions. Throttle in hard, watch the speedometer, feet on the rudder bar to control her yaw and keep her straight, keep the paddles at the right angle to catch the headwind’s lift and keep the airflow silky and fluid, listen to the quiet roar of the aether/petroleum engine at the stern, feel the shuddering of the frame in every atom of my body… and now! Now. The gold line on the power level monitor gleamed and glinted, and I pulled back on the joystick…. Keep it smooth! Keep it smooth… and up she went, whispering into the sky with the gentle fluidity of thick cream sliding over plate glass.

Beside me, Haines kept up an unflustered monologue of encouragement. “Ease her back a trifle, let the wind catch her… good, good. Feel the turbos kicking in? That will give you all the throttle power you need. Five hundred feet… level her out now. Throttle back… bring her around to port… excellent, Lancaster. Well done. Very smooth.”

I glanced down as the edges of Londinium slid away under us and we headed northwest, out toward St. Albans. Before us were the rising Chiltern hills and the browning quilt patch of Buckinghamshire’s rich farmlands basking in the mild sun of a clear late-autumn day. Behind us and to the left squatted the great black bulk of Londinium, huddled under its usual pall of smokes and steams. The air there was so thick with vapor that the buildings were little more than a dark mass in the murky brume. But here, out over the fields, we were far enough outside the city for the air to be cleaner and clear.

The sky curved above us, a bright blue overhead fading to something yellower at the horizon, streaked with thin white clouds. The sun was climbing up toward noon a little to our left and to our stern, sending our shadow sliding and slithering diagonally up the hillsides. Beneath us, the engines throbbed, the heart of the ship beating out a gentle, monotonous thrum of mechanical life. When I touched the controls, she responded with all the eager energy of a thoroughbred in a race. The earth beneath me rolled away—remote, beautiful, an exquisitely detailed toy landscape of field and wood and little villages made by some great mechanic.

The green-brown of hills and fields blurred for a moment, and I had to blink, every limb light and every sense sharp and clear, riding out the surge of joy that had me glowing as if the sun had taken refuge under my ribs.

The skies were mine again. Icarus was reborn, thrusting aloft on wings of gold.

And just for a moment, I was a god, striding through the heavens like a Colossus.

Lancaster’s Luck series!

The Gilded Scarab | The Jackal’s House

Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.

So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.

Find out more about the Lancaster’s Luck books and the world of Rafe and Ned

Amazon US | Amazon UK 

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About Anna!

Anna Butler author picAnna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group) | Pinterest | Twitter | Sign up for Anna’s quarterly newsletter

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Win a $25 (or equiv) Amazon Gift Card! Win a Signed copy of The Gilded Scarab!

Reviews

Title: The Gilded Scarab

Series: Lancaster’s Luck 01

Author: Anna Butler

Genre: Steampunk

Length: Novel (314 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (February 16, 2015)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 3.75 Hearts

Blurb: When Captain Rafe Lancaster is invalided out of the Britannic Imperium’s Aero Corps after crashing his aerofighter during the Second Boer War, his eyesight is damaged permanently, and his career as a fighter pilot is over. Returning to Londinium in late November 1899, he’s lost the skies he loved, has no place in a society ruled by an elite oligarchy of powerful Houses, and is hard up, homeless, and in desperate need of a new direction in life.

Everything changes when he buys a coffeehouse near the Britannic Imperium Museum in Bloomsbury, the haunt of Aegyptologists. For the first time in years, Rafe is free to be himself. In a city powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston, and where powerful men use House assassins to target their rivals, Rafe must navigate dangerous politics, deal with a jealous and possessive ex-lover, learn to make the best coffee in Londinium, and fend off murder and kidnap attempts before he can find happiness with the man he loves.

ISBN-13: 978-1-63216-773-6

Product Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-gilded-scarab-by-anna-butler-3119-b

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: While I loved the concept of this story I felt it was way too slow paced. Some things needed shortening to appreciate the entire story.

I was a little taken aback at how easily Rafe sleeps with men. I realize he is trying to find his way after being injured in a crash and his career ending as a pilot but I thought he would have better discretion than he did given what his occupation and the time period was.

I really liked the twists and turns, action scenes and all around setup into what I’m sure will be a great series. I am looking forward to getting know the characters more. The story seemed a bit long winded for me though I did enjoy it somewhat.

Good read.

Title: The Jackal’s House

Series: Lancaster’s Luck 02

Author: Anna Butler

Genre: Steampunk

Length: Novel (310 pages)

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 30, 2017)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 1/2 Hearts

Blurb: Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy….

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god, Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-944-4

Product Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-jackals-house-by-anna-butler-8998-b

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: The beginning of this story wraps up things left unanswered in the first book and is somewhat slow. Afterwards we find Ned is going to Aegypt for his archaeological dig. Rafe is less than thrilled and even Harry, Ned’s son, is somewhat displeased.

Once at the site things become strange and start picking up. There were many twists and turns that added a mysterious element to the story. While some I figured out others surprised me. I truly like the characters in this story as they seem well blended and rounded.

My only gripe with the series is that is seems slow at times to the point where I would like to stop reading for a while. I liked both books but this one is better paced than the first one.

All in all a great read and continuation of the series.

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Check out the other blogs on the tour!

October 30 – Love Bytes
November 1 – Nerdy, Dirty & Flirty
November 5 – Making It Happen 
November 6 – RJ Scott 
November 7 – Gay Book Reviews
November 9 – Alpha Book Club

Post Author: pixiemmgoodbookreviews

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