Akers excels at world building, spinning out an ancient civilization with a completely different technology that dangles somewhere between magic and technology, he effortlessly populates the world with people, social classes and a working city. And then his characters open their mouths and sound like Edward G. Robinson on a bad day.
But the noir element provides the impetus for a plot that sends Jacob Burn, a thug and scion of a noble family, scrambling to uncover the secrets of his civilization. It works mainly as an excuse for taking us through the complex construction of Veridon, but it’s a poor fit with the universe.
Does Heart of Veridon make sense? Not the technology, in a universe where you have to surgically alter pilots to fly zeppelins, but the fantasy element, undeveloped as it is, holds it together. And even Born becomes tolerable after a while. The most compelling element in the book though is the theology and politics intersecting in betrayal and war.