The last installment in the Parasol Protectorate series, Timeless finds Lady Alexia Maccon and her entourage traveling to Egypt to see an ancient vampire queen.
Several years have passed since the events in Heartless. Prudence, the unexpected "infant inconvenience" of Lord and Lady Maccon, who has the ability to turn supernaturals temporarily human (and Prudence temporarily supernatural), is walking, learning to talk, and alternately enchanting and terrorizing her household, including the stylish vampire Lord Akeldama. French inventor Madame Lefoux is atoning for her part in the events of Heartless by serving as a drone in the London vampire pack, now exiled to the countryside. Alexia's friend Ivy Tunstell, her husband, and their theatrical troupe are premiering a ghastly new play, while Biffy, the dandy drone-turned-werewolf is adjusting to his new role in the werewolf pack as well as selling stylish hats in what was once Madame Lefoux's store.
Alexia receives a summons from Countess Nadasdy, the queen of the vampire pack. The countess says that Queen Matakara, the oldest vampire in the world, would like to see Alexia - and, more to the point, Prudence - in Alexandria, Egypt. Against her husband's better judgement, Alexia decides to go, in part to understand what her father was doing in Egypt before his death years before, and to find the origin of the God-Breaker Plague that robbed the supernaturals of their abilities. As cover, she invites the Tunstells and their acting troupe to go along to perform for the ancient vampire queen. Add a murdered werewolf, an unexpected romance, a new parasol, shenanigans, comeuppances, and an effort to wrap up a series, and one can see how the book approaches 400 pages.
Even at that length, Timeless feels a bit rushed in the last quarter or so, as though Carriger realized a 600-page book would not bring smiles to her editor. That quibble aside, the book contains Carriger's usual humor (and plenty of tea). We've become old friends with the main characters, so it was good to have one last adventure with them.
I'm looking forward to Carriger's Young Adult series, The Finishing School, set a generation earlier than the Parasol Protectorate novels, as well as her Parasol Protectorate Abroad series, featuring an adult (and no doubt stylish) Prudence. Both series are expected to debut in 2013.