Author: Anna Butler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4.5 stars
Type: Novel in a Series
Received from Publisher
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?
Review: Rafe Lancaster and Ned Winter are as happy as a couple can be given their respective social stations and the place and times in which they live. Rafe had just settled into their usual schedule when he gets reminded Ned will be going to Aegypt. Ned’s even taking his son and his son’s dog. Rafe can’t just up and go, he’s still paying off House Stravaigor for the loan they gave him to buy his coffee house. Well, things change. Ned suddenly needs a pilot and the Stravaigor is very interested in Rafe being friends with the Gallowglass First Heir. Great. Nothing quite like having your life decided on your behalf. Things in Aegypt are smooth. For a while. Freak occurrences become more frequent. Then there’s real danger. Then there’s very real and very pressing danger and some news Rafe never wanted.
Almost every complaint I had about the first book resolved itself in this book. There were reasons. There was payoff, and it was good. Rafe’s life took a sudden shift. Rafe is kind of a jerk and many of the problems he’s had are of his own making, but I felt a lot of sympathy for him. In regards to his family situation. I’m happy for his life with Ned. Rafe is so exceedingly a product of his house. He is everything he resents. And mumble mumble because spoilers and it was well done. Really well done. I felt sympathy for Rafe but at the same time I thought he sort of deserved everything he’s getting. I mean that with all the complexities that come with the word deserve.
So the title. It’s a singular Jackal. Who is the Jackal? Well, I think I know who and I think I know which house, but I also thought I had a decent idea of things at the end of The Gilded Scarab, so yeah. There is great rabbit hole potential here and let me tell you I totally fell down that rabbit hole. But it’s got to be Rafe, right? He’s the text book definition of a Lancaster with all their ways of stravage-ing. I’m sure I’ll find out what clues I missed in the next book. All I know is the Jackal isn’t Carlos. Probably.
There’s quite a bit I want to talk about in regards to this book but it’s all wrapped up in the big thing that happens to Rafe. Yeah, all the mystery stuff was cool and all, but that was just the really great furniture to the house that is Rafe’s personal growth and struggles. And I really loved his personal growth and struggles! They were all… growthy and struggly. There’s so much being heaped upon his shoulders. I am very eager for the next installment to see how he carries the burden.