Johannes Cabal has recently won a deal with the devil, but now must escape the clutches of a local government. He takes passage aboard the airship the Princess Hortense, after stealing the identity of a government official. His escape seems imminent. He was not counting on meeting someone on board the ship who not only knows who he is, but he is also not on friendly terms with. There is a death on the ship, and Cabal begins to investigate out of idle curiosity. When an attempt is made on his life, he quits playing and begins to search in earnest.
This is the second book in the Johannes Cabal series. It picks up where the first book Johannes Cabal The Necromancer leaves off. This is my least favorite so far(I read the series a little out of order). It is still a decent story, and I love all of the books in the Johannes Cabal series I have read so far, but to me, it is not on par with the rest of the books. The writing is still superb, but it lacks some of the pazazz of the rest of the series. I think it is because in the other books, Cabal is in his own world doing extraordinary things, and here, he seems almost like a regular person. Not the Cabal I know or love. I would say it was the return of his soul, but he returns to the necromancer we have come to know in the next book: Johannes Cabal The Fear Institute, so maybe it was the author exploring the character and new settings.
There is still a great sense of humor in this book, and the writing does pull you in. I wanted to keep reading to discover what situation Cabal would find himself in next. It is not that I did not like this book, it just was not what I was expecting. It in no way changes how much I love this series, and I will continue to look forward to reading further adventures with Johannes Cabal. Howard writes an enjoyable mystery that for this book, seems to be a steampunk crossover. One thing I really like about this series is that any of the books could be picked up without reading the other books. I think it is more enjoyable if you have, but you will be fine reading any of the books that appeal to you.
If you are a fan of Johannes Cabal, I would recommend reading this book.