I love series books. I really enjoy following characters and plots as they change and develop across a number of volumes. What I don’t enjoy as much is waiting for the next book to be written (hey there, George R. R. Martin…) so I’m giving those of you who enjoy waiting as much as I do(n’t) a bit of a present today: A suggestion for a recently completed, relatively little known and absolutely fabulous trilogy. The first volume in the Alchemy Wars trilogy is The Mechanical. Publisher’s Weekly has an excellent summary/review: “(Starred Review) Tregillis launches a series with this superb alternate history filled with clockwork men and ethical questions on the nature of free will. The Calvinist Dutch empire, with the help of the mechanical soldiers (“Clakkers”) that are imbued with intelligence and enslaved through magic, has been dominant since defeating the French in the 17th century. Two centuries later, their only opponents are small French and Papal outposts in the New World. Against this background, French spymaster Berenice Charlotte de Mornay-Périgord, Vicomtesse de Laval, attempts to manage her secret agents abroad. One of those agents is Father Luuk Visser, a Catholic priest undercover as a pastor in the Hague, who knows he’s soon going to be exposed. He uses one of the Clakkers, Jax, to smuggle an item across the Atlantic. As Berenice, Luuk, and Jax go on their separate journeys (only briefly intersecting), they uncover multiple dastardly plots, learn terrifying secrets, and have to cope with knowing that all three of them have destroyed innocent lives. Tregillis’s complex setting is elegantly delivered, and the rich characters and gripping story really make this tale soar.” Volume 2 is The Rising and volume 3 is The Liberation. A word of caution – Kirkus Reviews correctly described these books as darkly intelligent fantasy (tone and violence closer to Game of Thrones than The Lord of the Rings). If you’re ok with that, then I highly recommend these books!