A Heartless Design – An Historical Romance by Elizabeth Cole


An enigmatic woman, a determined spy, and a love that could shake the foundations of Europe…

A Heartless Design features a heroine who is very unusual for the
regency period: Cordelia is an engineer. She designs ships, something her father taught her as a child. Her newest design is a prototype for an steelclad ship. The design borrows a lot from real history (such as the U.S. Civil War era ships like the Monitor and the Merrimac). Since the story takes place in the very early 1800s, I didn’t want to push anachronism too far — the book only discusses prototypes instead of actual working ships. But history shows ideas for metal ships, which can be either partly or fully submerged, are nothing new. Leonardo DaVinci, for example, made sketches of similar ideas centuries before.

I made Cordelia an engineer because I love the history of science and technology…and I love writing smart female characters. In fact, all the books in the Secrets of the Zodiac series feature a heroine with a special skill that is uncommon or improper for a regency lady. I’ve got a codebreaker and a con artist, an astronomer and an actress. I love to read about innovations and discoveries, so they make their way into my stories. Because the Secrets of the Zodiac also stars spies as heroes, I read a lot about the history of espionage and political intrigue, which combines all kinds of neat stuff like psychology, technology, and plain old luck. Even small things — like a card trick — can be fascinating to take apart and study, so I often include those tidbits in my character’s lives. I’m always learning something new with my writing. Future books will tell the stories of a linguist, an archeologist, and a surgeon. These ladies are all passionate about their respective fields, and their commitment is what begins their encounter with a Zodiac agent in each

A Heartless Design is the first book in the series, so I hope readers enjoy the blend of history and romance, and keep on reading to see what I come up with next!