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A.W. Exley books in order

A.W. Exley was a New Zealander author of historical fantasy and steampunk novels.

Blending her passion for history, none more so than Egyptology, she skillfully intertwined tales of bold heroines and resilient men, capable of capturing their hearts.

Between 2013 and 2020, A.W. Exley published several book series, including Queen's Blade Origins, Serenity House, Silent Wings, and Tales from Darjee. However, her most popular work still remains the Artifact Hunters Series.

She lived and wrote her captivating tales from rural New Zealand.

More about A.W. Exley

Genres: Fantasy / SF, Historical Fantasy

New Zealand


Artifact Hunters

  1. Nefertiti's Heart (2013)
  2. Hatshepsut's Collar (2013)
  3. The Unicorn's Tail: An Artifact Hunters Novella (2014)
  4. Nero's Fiddle (2014)
  5. Paniha's Taniwha: An Artifact Hunters Novella (2016)
  6. Moseh's Staff (2015)
  7. Nessy's Locket (2018)
  8. Rahotep's Last Breath (2020)


  1. Primetime (2013)
  2. Caught in Crystal: A Gaslamp Anthology (2019)

Omnibus Books

  1. Bad Magic (2017)

Queen's Blade Origins

  1. Obsidian Eyes (2014)
  2. Opaque Lies (2020)

Serenity House

  1. Henry, The Gaoler: A Prequel Novella (2016)
  2. Ella, the Slayer (2015)
  3. Alice, the Player (2016)
  4. Rory, the Sleeper (2017)

Silent Wings

  1. Dawn's Promise (2018)
  2. Day's Patience (2018)
  3. Dusk's Revenge (2019)

Tales from Darjee

  1. Heart of the Kraken (2015)
  2. Alise (2019)
Omnibus Books
Queen's Blade Origins

Detailed book overview

Artifact Hunters

Nefertiti's Heart

Cara Devon has always been impulsive, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

1861. Cara has a simple mission in London - finalise her father's estate and sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when a killer stalks the nobility, searching for an ancient Egyptian relic rumoured to hold the key to immortality.

Nathaniel Trent, known as the villainous viscount, is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on both Cara and the priceless artifacts. His icy exterior and fiery touch stirs Cara's demons, or could he lay them to rest?

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem known as Nefertiti's Heart. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she sacrifices her own heart and life.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-0473414566
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press
Hatshepsut's Collar

An ancient Egyptian artifact is driving Queen Victoria insane, and that's not top of Cara Devon's growing list of problems.

Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is a man of numerous secrets, but there is one in particular that threatens his fledgling relationship with Cara. Stunned by Nate's revelation, and before she can absorb the ramifications of his actions, he is arrested, charged with treason and imprisoned in the grim Tower of London. He stole something the mad queen wants, and only has days to deliver, before his date with the executioner.

Although sorely tempted, Cara can't let him die on Tower Green, not when their connection means she would share his fate.

Only together can Cara and Nate figure out how to wrestle Hatshepsut's Collar from around the queen's neck, before she plunges Britain into a world war. The search for answers sends Cara to the opulent Winter Palace of St Petersburg and the frozen depths of Siberia, with every step shadowed by an enemy with his own dark plans.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1620073995
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
The Unicorn's Tail: An Artifact Hunters Novella

Amy Hamilton is a good girl. She always did exactly as society demanded, kept her eyes downcast, never spoke out of turn, and hid the myriad of questions swirling in her brain. In return for shutting off her intellect, she landed an abusive fiancé and was cast aside by the ton. Disgraced, she seeks refuge at the Lyons' country estate. 

There she is given a bracelet made from a unicorn's tail and told it contains enough magic to grant one wish. She knows what she wants - someone to love the true her and not the shallow image that smiles back from the mirror. She never expected the unicorn to send her two men....

Lachlan Hawke - dashing airship pirate and notorious rogue.

Jackson Jackson - the scarred henchman and enforcer for the Lyons Empire.

The two men have a bet: Who will be first to win a kiss from the delicate rose? The loser to be tarred and feathered. Loki is sure of a quick victory and that Jackson will be impersonating a chicken by the end of the week. Jackson doesn't even know why he agreed to the stupid bet; the girl shudders whenever he enters a room. But the men are about to learn you should be careful making bets when a unicorn is involved....

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2014
Ebook: B00XQR85AQ
Publisher: Audible Studios
Nero's Fiddle

One... death by spontaneous human combustion is a rare act of God

Two... is surely a freakish coincidence

Three... well, that’s starting to look deliberate.

Cara has a new role as Queen Victoria’s artifact hunter, she’s adapting to married life and living in a country manor that more closely resembles a mausoleum.

In London, Inspector Fraser investigates a series of strange deaths by divine fire - except he doesn't believe in coincidences. Despite himself, he enlists Cara's help to identify what artifact could cause such a hideous death while his desire to bring her husband to justice burns unabated.

Someone's intent on making sure a decades old secret stays hidden and Cara must figure out who is responsible before this case consumes her family and rocks the entire realm to its foundations.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-0473414580
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press
Paniha's Taniwha: An Artifact Hunters Novella

Captain Lachlan Hawke, notorious rogue and airship pirate, is about to explore uncharted territory… inside his own head.

Loki pilots a long-range airship to the farthest reaches of the globe and touches down in an alternate Aotearoa under Maori rule. He is tasked with establishing a trade route with the new country but what he finds is a strange beast killing the settlers and tensions igniting between the English and Maori inhabitants. There’s also a certain fierce Maori (or two) who make pangs spear through his torso and strange new emotions spring to life in his mind.

Before Loki can return to England he needs to secure access to valuable trade goods, defuse hostilities, and find a killer. He should also see a doctor about that ache in his chest… it just might kill him.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0473388669
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press
Moseh's Staff

All things must come to an end…

London is in the frozen grip of an unnatural winter and Queen Victoria wants answers. Cara and Nate know who – the Curator. The queen's artifact hunters just don't know what is responsible. Cara is on the trail of an ancient and powerful artifact capable of freezing a city and stirring demons. First she must confront her past and her father's history. Only in learning why her father became a disciple of the Curator can she hope to learn what the old noble seeks and why he is so fascinated by her.

Then tragedy strikes and the bond forged by Nefertiti's Heart is severed. Nate without Cara succumbs to his darkness and he lashes out at those he holds responsible for her loss. Meanwhile, in the shadows, Inspector Fraser waits for his opportunity to pull down the man known as the villainous viscount.

With London entombed in ice and all hope lost, could this be the end…?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2015
Ebook: B0137IKZP6
Nessy's Locket

Dragons have taken up residence at Lowestoft and Queen Victoria is not amused.

The queen is on the warpath and to protect the mythical beasts from treasure hunters, Cara needs to find the foundation stone from the Great Wall of China. To add to her problems, there's a strange box hidden deep under the Lowestoft estate that makes her skin crawl and steals the air from her lungs. Nate is trying to find a way to make it reveal its secrets, but Cara would rather drop it in the deepest, darkest part of the ocean.

Quite apart from arguing with the monarch and catching those who hunt her dragons Cara faces a far more terrifying trial--impending motherhood. Childbirth always ends in tragedy for her maternal line and even her bond with Nate might not be strong enough to battle Mother Nature..

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2018
Ebook: B07HJT3G39
Rahotep's Last Breath

One word will shatter her heart…

Cara finally unearths a clue about the mage who created Nefertiti’s Heart, but there’s one prospect more terrifying than whatever lurks in the obsidian chest… her daughter leaving home.

On her eighteenth birthday, Rachel announces her intention to embark on an adventure. She wants to break free of her family’s protective care, see the world, and escape the whispers in her head that have grown more insistent.

The two women journey to Egypt on the trail of an ancient mystery, but Rachel chafes under maternal bonds. As Cara is drawn back through time to walk in the footsteps of Nefertiti, mother and daughter need to forge a new relationship. Only if they stand united to confront the voice from the shadows can they stop the man intent on destroying everything they love…

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2020



Curiosity Quills Press brings together bestselling authors like J.R. Rain, Tony Healey, and more to create a spine-tingling, mind-blowing, quirky collection of short stories in their first ever, annual Curiosity Quills: Primetime Anthology.

10% of every purchase will go straight to animals in need. The CQ team has selected humane societies on both the East and West coast that spend well and do not stray from their “no-kill” policies.

Included Short Stories:

- And Death Shall Have No Dominion - K.H. Koehler

- Cyber Cowboy - James Wymore

- Dark Orb - Tony Healey

- Ephemera - Gerilyn Marin

- The Fridge - J.R. Rain

- Ghost Placers - Nina Post

- How I Killed the Drama - Mike Robinson

- Mad Science - Sharon Bayliss

- On the Rocks - William Vitka

- Razor Child - Michael Shean

- Sinergy - A.E. Propher & Grace Eyre

- Tell Us Everything - Randy Attwood

- The Caw - Eliza Tilton

- The Damned and the Dangerous - Michael Panush

- The Last Carnivale - Vicki Keire

- The Milgram Battery - Matthew Graybosch

- The Notebook - Randy Attwood

- The Pearl - Rand B. Lee

- Trevor - Nathan Yocum

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Caught in Crystal: A Gaslamp Anthology

A gaslamp anthology from some of your favourite historical fantasy authors.

Iron Tears, by Becca Andre

Alone in the world, Kali must sort out her mysterious ancestry with the help of an enigmatic stranger who might prove to be her family’s greatest enemy.

Pricked by Thorns, by Nicolette Andrews.

Catherine’s mother is adamant she marry. But for Catherine finding a husband, might prove to be a deadly affair.

The Demigod Dilemma, by Jamaila Brinkley

When young ladies go missing from Mayfair, the Home Office knows just who to call. This is going to be Anastasia Galipp's most dangerous Season yet.

The Seer’s Eye, by A.W. Exley

A family trip to the circus takes a dangerous turn when the familiar tingle of an artifact touches Cara Devon. What price is demanded, to change the future?

Rain Through Her Fingers, by Rabia Gale

Trapped in an unnaturally flooded Brighton, Elaine must find the courage to confront an old foe and protect a new friend.

The Alchemist’s Tomb, by Sara C Roethle

Arhyen and Liliana thought their troubles were over when they are given a mission to steal an artifact from a tomb. Will stealing from the dead prove fatal?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-1099637049
Publisher: Independently published

Omnibus Books

Bad Magic

Bad magic can be so good ...

These 5 full-length novels of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will keep you on the edge of your seat and up past the witching hour. Black magic, adventure, and romance … they’re all here.

About the Books:

Chosen by Christine Pope

When a fatal fever nearly wipes out the entire world's population, the survivors of what became known as "the Dying" believe the worst is in the past ...

Wolves by C. Gockel

When Amy prays for help, Loki the Norse God of Mischief and Chaos isn't the savior she had in mind.

Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta

The once-revered ancient Egyptian gods aren’t dead. They’re back. And soul eater Private Investigator, Ace Dante, is in their way.

The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

For 5 years, Charlie has lived as a boy in the slums, but when she's arrested, her only means of escape lies with raising the dead. Now people are hunting her for her necromancy, but only one man succeeds in capturing her: a man known as Death, as compelling as he is frightening.

Nefertiti’s Heart by A.W. Exley

1861. In a steam and mechanically powered London, feisty Cara Devon uses her dead father's secret notebook as a guide in her pursuit of powerful ancient artifacts.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2017
Ebook: B06XX3QQ6Y

Queen's Blade Origins

Obsidian Eyes

The worlds of noble and guild are about to collide, with seventeen-year-old Allie Donovan as the catalyst...

Allie lives in a shadow world until she is thrust into the light of the aristocratic St Matthew's Academy. More at ease with a blade than a needle, she is stalked along the ancient corridors by a Scottish lord intent on determining why she is among them.

She stumbles onto the reason when soldiers arrive to see her friend, Zeb, a mechanical genius. On the hunt for answers, she breaks into his underground laboratory. There, Allie discovers Zeb is not just constructing sentient mechanical creatures, he is building a devastating new weapon for the military.

To protect her friend, Allie will have to stop the guilds from snatching the weapon and its creator. But if she betrays her world, she forfeits her own life. Unless she can rely on bonds of friendship to save both their lives..

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1620075036
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Opaque Lies

Can Allie walk the line between shadow and light, or will she fall?

Allie Donovan returns to the elite St Matthew's Academy with mounting problems. Her heart wants Jared, but her bain argues their relationship is doomed. Weasel is acting strange, and Eloise is giving off sparks.

Then Allie finds a kindred spirit looking for escape in the library - Princess Alexandrina Victoria of Kent. The heir to the British throne is on a temporary hiatus from her mother's tight control. But as friendship grows, the young woman turns into a catalyst who could shatter a five hundred year old treaty between the Noctis and Lux.

Unless Allie can stop the chain of events from unfolding, her new friend will never become Queen of England. When you were born and raised in a shadow world, decisions aren't black or white. How far will Allie go, to protect the future queen...?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2020
ISBN: 978-0473527815
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press

Serenity House

Henry, The Gaoler: A Prequel Novella

Imagine if Rapunzel's parents were Edwardian preppers...

Hazel's parents saw the 1912 sinking of the Titanic as a portent of doom and locked their daughter away. Isolated and alone, each birthday she wishes to be free, whatever the risk. If only her childhood friend Henry would return and breach the high walls.

On the frontlines of the Great War, Henry kept a token of happier times - a worn photograph of a young girl with long blonde plaits. He returns from war damaged and vowing to do one brave thing to make up for his cowardice - release Hazel from her prison. But is it safe with the pandemic and its horrific aftermath?

How can Henry reconcile protecting Hazel with setting her free? Or perhaps the sheltered young woman will teach the soldier a lesson about life, and liberate him from a tower of his own construction.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2016
Ebook: B01FY9Q17M
Publisher: Skyboat Media
Ella, the Slayer

The flu pandemic of 1918 took millions of souls within a few short weeks. Except it wasn't flu, and death gave them back.

Seventeen-year-old Ella copes the best she can by caring for her war-injured father, scrubbing the floors, and slaying the undead that attack the locals. Like rats, these vermin spread pestilence with every bite. Ella's world collides with another when she nearly decapitates a handsome stranger - one who is very much alive.

Seth deMage, the new Duke of Leithfield, has returned to his ancestral home with a mission from the War Office: control the plague of vermin in rural Somerset. He needs help; he just didn't expect to find it in a katana-wielding scullery maid.

Working alongside Seth blurs the line between their positions, and Ella glimpses a future she never dreamed was possible. But in overstepping society's boundaries, Ella could lose everything - her home, her head, and her heart.

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1514647547
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Alice, the Player

Ella must venture down a rabbit hole, but this is no wonderland…

Ella and Alice are trying to forge a path with the men they love in a world reeling from the Great War and the influenza pandemic that left the countryside crawling with the undead.

Then Alice goes missing without a trace, until the new vermin queen sends an invitation—Ella is welcome to try and rescue her friend before Elizabeth lets her subjects tear the housemaid apart.

To save Alice, Ella must venture into a subterranean world ruled by her former step-mother. But does Elizabeth play to merely torment Ella, or is there a more sinister purpose? One tied to the endless wave of vermin spreading across Europe?

Someone is going to lose this game and forfeit their head, but will it be Ella or Elizabeth?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2016
ISBN: 978-0473401825
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press
Rory, the Sleeper

Who will awaken the sleeper…?

Ella wants the sleeper to stay undisturbed. Especially since it's Millicent deMage, the first Duchess of Leithfield and a supposed witch who died over three hundred years ago. As Ella learns about the history of Serenity House, she begins to realise the long dead duchess could be the key to understanding the pandemic of vermin.

For the final battle Ella needs a new ally, one forged from an old adversary—Charlotte, her step-sister. Ever since Ella shattered her world and destroyed her family, the young woman has been trying to figure out how to survive. Now, Charlotte is the one woman who can anchor Ella in this world as she does battle in another.

Sometimes the fiercest battles are the ones we fight in our minds. But this might be one fight Ella can't win, and she will be the one put to sleep forever…

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2017
ISBN: 978-0473394073
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press

Silent Wings

Dawn's Promise

A heart prepared to die that has never lived or loved...

Born with fragile health, Dawn Uxbridge has lived a sheltered existence. Her lonely days are filled by drawing fanciful landscapes and nurturing plants. When tragedy strikes, she finds herself alone and penniless with only one talent - a green thumb.

Jasper, the Earl of Seton, is in need of a gardener to reclaim his derelict estate in the remote west of England. He expected a robust commoner, not a fragile young woman.

With the next train a week away, Dawn has one chance to change the earl's mind and earn her place. But all is not as it seems at the ancestral manor. The estate is full of secrets. Ravens cluster on the parapets, and a ghostly young woman cries out at night. This garden conceals a rotten heart, and it plans to squeeze the last beat from Dawn's....

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2018
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Day's Patience

Each raindrop writes a word on her skin....

After a long sickness, Lady Letitia Seton is finally free. But the last fractures in her mind won't heal until she confronts old wounds. Intent on finding answers about a murderous conspiracy against her family and to complete her recovery, she travels to County Durham.

Dr Grayson Day devoted his life to healing the princess in the tower. Not wanting her to journey alone into the unknown, he volunteers to accompany Lettie. But he is cast in the role of brother. Now he can only watch as Lettie becomes entwined with an enticing sylph - for what could a short-lived country doctor offer the beautiful Elemental?

But Lettie plays a dangerous game, and she struggles to understand her attraction to her enemy, even as she uncovers old secrets. Can she discover the truth, before it is too late for her heart and her family?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2018
Ebook: B07JZGLF37
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Dusk's Revenge

Fire must be free....

Elijah Seton steps into the world in pursuit of a ghost ship and those who murdered his father. He thought he knew his enemy, and he would do anything to see them fall. But he was wrong. Elijah's world is turned upside down when he finds a rare woman that his heart demands should fly free.

Beatrice Hamilton lives with wealth and ease in her gilded cage. Until a new mill worker rattles her bars and gives her a glimpse of the freedom beyond.

As the two work together, centuries of hate and anger are revealed that keep them apart.

Can they set aside old feuds to forge a new future?

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2019
Ebook: B07R4B9X47
Publisher: Tantor Audio

Tales from Darjee

Heart of the Kraken

Legend says if you consume the heart of a mermaid, you will know all the secrets of men.

Ailin doesn't care if the legend is true or not - she's stuck in a crate on her way to feature as the main course at a lavish banquet. Her heart to be served while still beating for a cruel noble while the rest of her is sliced into sashimi. Unless she can escape.

Across the ocean, Fenton longs for a different release. Sold as a child by men who labelled him a mistake, a failed experiment. Except he has one valuable skill, he can summon the dreaded kraken. Bought by a pirate, he has only known life at sea, wielded as a tool by the captain.

Two lives collide when the pirates capture the vessel holding Ailin. The kraken holds the key to Ailin's freedom but in summoning the beast one last time, Fenton must choose between losing his life or his heart…

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2015
ISBN: 978-1508924388
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Would you risk you life for a second chance…?


Ephraim is marked with a white feather tattoo. His life is a series of mistakes and he wishes things were different. Once he had a chance at love, but he let it slip through his fingers. He survives by doing nothing, but is it worth his soul as the hollow void inside him grows?


Indi spends her days in a drug induced haze. Reality is cold and harsh but its also where the only things worth living for exist - Ephraim and her sewing. If only she could stay off the drugs and tell Ephraim how she really feels, things might change.

A second chance…

When Lady Alise, the cruel ruler of Darjee, orders a hundred children to be snatched from the streets, Ephraim can’t stand by and do nothing any longer. But he can’t act alone. He needs Indi’s help if they are to save the children and, just maybe, themselves…

Author: A.W. Exley
First Release: 2019
ISBN: 978-0473498146
Publisher: Ribbonwood Press