Based on Abigail's advice, I started with the anthology Burning Up. Meljean's contribution, my first experience in the world of the Horde, was immediately riveting. The Iron Duke itself is a meaty, satisfying book that I couldn't put down. Brook does a phenomenal job developing both the world and her characters. While I know it will be awhile before readers have an opportunity to pick up another in this series, I look forwared to filling the time between now and then recommending this book to others and re-reading for myself.
Re-read #1 complete, still phenomenally impressed. With an eye towards the release of Heart of Steel, I paid special attention to Yasmine and Archimedes Fox. Thrown off the side of an airship for mutiny, talk about a difficult beginning to a romance. If anyone can pull it off it will be Meljean Brook, however. I am consistently impressed with the realistic set up and resolution of the difficulties her heros and heroines face. The prejudice of a nation is no minor issue to convincingly convey, Brook did a marvelous job in The Iron Duke.
Re-read #2, prompted by Newbury's story in WILD & STEAMY. Just realized for the first time that the Horde are Mongols, not the Chinese. Sad, but true, I'm not terribly observant.
Re-read #3: A. A. Aguirre's steampunk started out a little slow for me, so I had to gorge on THE IRON DUKE for satisfaction. I find myself skipping a lot of the action just for the character interactions. Love it.