The Eterna Files
After the death of Abraham Lincoln, mystic Clara Templeton suggests to Mary Lincoln that her husband should have been made immortal. Taken with the idea, Mary Lincoln presses the government to create a group of scientists and mystics to investigate immortality. Seventeen years later, the group has neared its goal when most of its members are killed in a strange accident. Clara feels responsible and mourns the loss of her lover; with her guardian Senator Bishop, she helps to investigate the accident and follow up on the group’s work.
In England, a similar group has been working on immortality, and all of its members have disappeared. Policeman Spire is hired to head the new agency, to discover what happened to the missing scientists and to help complete their work. America and Britain are in a race to see who can understand the eterna compound/process first, but a third group, mysterious and dangerous, is also involved.
Hieber’s alternate history/steampunk world is well drawn, and her characters, though numerous, are fully realized. The mystery is murky and the plot fast-paced. The Eterna Files must be the first book in a series as the story ends mid-action.