This is the best in the bunch so far, I think. As with the second book, it takes it cues from a real-world event--this time, the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia. The atmosphere was so clouded with volcanic ash that 1816 was dubbed "The Year Without a Summer," thus the title of the book.
Jane and Vincent have accepted a commission in London, and they travel there with Melody, who hopes to snag an eligible bachelor. As they work on the project, they are slowly drawn into political unrest and intrigues. (Yet again. At this rate, they're turning into Jessica Fletcher--if you see her there, run, because someone's going to die! Ahem.)
I liked the descriptions of the English legal system at that time, the very real prejudice against the Irish, and the incorporation of Luddites into the story--Kowal has clearly done her research, and works into the story nicely. Also, can I just say that Vincent's father is an asshole? Thanks, I feel better.
Kowal just keeps getting better and better. The next one is due for release in April 2014, and I'll be reading that one, too.