Literature / Age of Steam

The Age of Steam novels by Devon Monk are a series that combines Weird West and Steampunk, consisting thus far of
  • Dead Iron
  • Tin Swift
  • Cold Copper

Tropes featured in this work include:

  • Anxiety Dreams: In Dead Iron, LeFel does not sleep because he will only dream of dying, which is near.
  • Back from the Dead: In Dead Iron, Jeb Lindson has already come back twice at the beginning. LeFel invokes the Rule of Three to argue that he should stay dead this time.
  • Baleful Polymorph: In Dead Iron, Cedar's brother Wil was permanently turned into a wolf—with, fortunately, his own mind—as opposed to Cedar's Involuntary Shapeshifter.
  • Black Magic: In Dead Iron, Mae's magic twists to this and causes pain. She uses great care to use it only beneficially—keeping out vermin—and laboriously learned to undo curses and other dark bindings.
  • Blow You Away: In Dead Iron, Cedar's arrival at the mine is announced by dust devils that form without any wind.
  • Cue the Sun: In Dead Iron, the sun comes from behind the clouds just as Mae sets out to the Madder brothers'. She takes it as a good omen.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In Dead Iron, Cedar's brother Wil dragged him west after the loss of his wife and children. Then they went on the wrong land and were cursed into werewolf form. Cedar came to find himself at the end of a bloody trail, and backtracked to find his brother's wolf corpse, its throat torn out by himself.
  • The Eyes Have It: In Dead Iron, a room of Strangework mantics is absolutely still, except for eyes following LeFel and Mr. Shunt.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Played with in Dead Iron, Alun Maddox talks of spoons made of moonlight — and Cedar says his gun is made with pain.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: In Dead Iron, Rose Small's backstory was being abandoned on the step of her adoptive parents' home.
  • Must Be Invited: In Dead Iron, Mae explicitly refuses permission to enter her home, though the effect appears to be more her spells than the refusal.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: In Dead Iron, Cedar, under a curse, changes by the full moon and loses his mind, requiring him to chain himself. He pays quite dearly for a collar that lets him keep his right mind. Later we learn his brother Wil is still alive and also under a curse, but while Cedar only changes during the full moon, Wil is permanently a wolf, and fortunately, can control himself all the time when not actively bespelled by LeFel.
  • Power of Love: In Dead Iron, LeFel has to kill Jeb because otherwise his and Mae's love would protect her.
  • Rule of Three: In Dead Iron, LeFel tries to invoke this on Jeb Lindson — he shouldn't have to kill him more than three times.
  • Something About a Rose: In Cold Copper, Captain Hink had given Rose a wallpaper rose, folded paper and perfumed. She had kissed him — more than once — because of it.
  • Windows to the Soul: In Dead Iron, Wil's eyes are still copper even in wolf form. The precise color is not so significant as what it shows about Wil's ability to keep his human mind in wolf form.


Alternative Title(s): Dead Iron, Tin Swift, Cold Copper

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