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Conversation Pieces

Vol. 62 — The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum

by Cynthia Ward

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The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum is the second novella in the author's Blood Thirsty Agent series.

Intelligence agent Lucy Harker receives the most dangerous assignment in the world—keeping Winston Churchill safe on the Western Front. Despite her unique abilities as Dracula's daughter, she loses Churchill to Kaiser Wilhelm's inhuman allies. If she's to recover Britain's greatest leader, Agent Harker must gain the aid of her Austrian lover, Countess Karnstein—better known as Carmilla. But the notorious vampire is keeping secrets that might doom the British Empire.


"This is the modern, feminist, queer version of a Boy's Own Adventure story, and Ward brings it all together in a satisfyingly explosive and emotionally meaningful conclusion."  (Read the whole review)
  —Tor.com, Liz Bourke, Sept 25, 2018

This tale of two monsters, at once romantic and action-packed, is fun and thought-provoking, giving readers everything they want. The novella follows British spy and vampire hunter Lucy Harker—child of Dracula and Mina Harker, stepdaughter to the infamous Mycroft Holmes—as she serves on a mission to keep Winston Churchill safe from wolfmen. To complicate matters, her lover, Clarimal, is with her, and Lucy is soon torn among her duty, her heart, and her soul. The story pulls together favorite characters in what could be simply a fun romp, but Ward (The Adventure of the Incognita Countess) digs deeper, examining war trauma, womanhood, and queerness through an anticolonialist lens. Ward's work is excellent, at once a simple adventure story and a feminist text, and it invites readers to reexamine what they think they know about history. Fans of the paranormal, queer romance, and political intrigue will celebrate this short novel. (Starred Review)  
  —Publishers Weekly, November, 2018

"It’s all good fun, not without more serious rumination on issues like colonialism and women’s suffrage." 
  —Locus, Rich Horton, April 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61976-153-7 (13 digit)
Publication Date: Sep 2018
paperback 138 pages