October Seal Of Excellence

October 2010's RT Seal of Excellence is awarded to Meljean Brook's steampunk series starter, The Iron Duke. Here are some comments from the editors about why it won the honor. 


"The Iron Duke is an engaging read. Set in an extremely detailed steampunk London, Brook's inspired twists on familiar historical elements, such as Marco Polo's venture into Asia, will charm historical and fantasy fans alike. Readers will immediately connect with heroine Mina and enjoy watching her open her heart to the mysterious and compelling Iron Duke." - RT Assistant Web Editor Whitney Sullivan

"I loved the accessible alterna-world of this novel, the police-inspector heroine (who's addressed by her underlings as 'sir'), the social milieu, the boldly drawn characters and especially kick-ass Mina's equally kick-ass mama! Also, tee-hee, Meljean says 'bugger' -- A LOT!" - RT Managing Editor Liz French

"BRILLIANT is the only word I have to describe the incredible detail that Brook uses to describe this amazingly vivid world. If this novel is not turned into a movie, Hollywood will have to answer to me!"- RT Web Editor Morgan Doremus 

Read A Message From the Author >>

Read An Excerpt >>


So what other books were contenders for the October Seal of Excellence? Here is a look at the titles the RT editors considered.


Beth Bernobich's clever debut novel, Passion Play, treats readers to a host of unusual characters and situations. Labeled a fantasy, this story is more like an historical novel that has touches of magic. The names of the characters and places that make the fantasy take shape can be a little disconcerting, but if readers can get past the made up language, they will be enthralled by young Ilse's story. At 16, the heroine makes some very confusing choices, however, this only underscores the complexity of her character. In the end, her strength and relentless drive to be independent gets her through her difficult journey. The story is not a light read, but rather a mass of emotion that sweeps the reader into a whole new world.

Read the Author's "In The Spotlight" Entry >>

Read an In-Depth Q&A With the Author >>



Tom Franklin's Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter is an astonishingly beautiful book. The author deftly combines several storylines and points of view and evokes rural Mississippi in such detail that readers will feel the kudzu creeping up behind them. Silas Jones and Larry Ott were boyhood friends in the 1970s until a local girl disappeared after a date with Larry. Her body never turned up and Larry never confessed to having done anything to harm her, but he becomes an outcast in their small community: "Scary Larry." Twenty years later, Silas is the constable, the daughter of the mill owner has disappeared and Larry has come under suspicion once again. Dense and rich and chewy as fruitcake, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter demands the reader's full attention and rewards it in spades.


RT Managing Editor Liz French had this reaction to Breathless, "Holy cannoli, Anne Stuart writes a mean mofo hero! But here's the beauty of her writing: She makes you believe. She takes you there and makes you like it. You squirm and protest, maybe give the book a little time-out, but you will return. The heroine of Breathless ain't bad either, and the secondary romance is touching and sweet."

Read An Exclusive Interview With the Author >>



Mad About the Duke is an excellent second installment in Elizabeth Boyle's latest series, The Bachelor Chronicles: The Standon Widows. Readers who are new to the series may be overwhelmed by the number of characters that Boyle brings back for the story. However, the full cast of characters only adds excitement to this fast-paced novel. Regency fans will enjoy this witty identity farce which has a distinctly fairy tale feel.  


Other books the RT editors considered were:

Covert Christmas by Marilyn PappanoLinda Conrad and Loreth Anne White

One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld


September Seal of Excellence >>

August Seal of Excellence >>

July Seal of Excellence >>