Ten years after Dorjan trusted a boy’s word over his superior officer’s, he and his best friend, Areau, are still living the aftermath—and trying to stop the man responsible. Locked in a careful dance to bring down a corrupt government, Dorjan struggles to balance his grief with Areau’s anger. Just when Dorjan reaches the end of his rope, he sees a familiar face in the shadows, and the boy he trusted a decade before offers him unexpected kindness.
Taern remembers the soldier who found him under the rushes and listened to his pleas to save his family. When Dorjan reappears in his life, Taern is both captured by his commitment to justice and terrified by the risks he takes. All Taern wants to do is fix him, but the oncoming destruction has been ten years in the making, and Dorjan doesn’t want his help. Not if it puts Taern at risk.
Powers clash and a world's fate dangles between Areau's madness and Dorjan's nobility. While Dorjan fights to save the world, Taern joins the battle simply to save Dorjan, knowing everything hinges on the heart of a man in armor and the strength of the man who loves him.
This is a tale of what happens when higher-ups make a decision that goes against everything you are all about and how the clean up is out of your hands. But Dorjan is not about just roll over and accept what life has become. His world is definitely not where he thought it would be but his determination to fix things is admirable. Watching Dorjan and his best friend Areau, who is a shell of the boy he grew up with, tackle their enemies from inside is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Even if they think they are doing a fine job, it becomes pretty obvious to the reader that they need help and that help comes in the form of Taern and Krissa, prostitutes that have an uncanny way of being exactly what their counterparts need. I would not label Under the Rushes as any kind of superhero story but if I am completely honest, there are most definitely moments that scream Batman, Robin, and their trusty butler Alfred. Under is classic Amy Lane with a sci-fi twist that kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.
Reviewer Note: I have to say that I don't really get the whole terminology of steampunk. I know what it means and I know it is a sub-genre of science fiction but to me science fiction is science fiction, nothing more, nothing less. As a reader, I will be putting this and others labeled steampunk on my science fiction library shelf but as a book blogger I will defer to the whole steampunk terminology labeling. Just wanted to put that out there.
Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her website or blog, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.