Clementine by Cherie Priest

The Clockwork Century, book 1.1

Synopsis: Maria Isabella Boyd’s success as a Confederate spy has made her too famous for further espionage work, and now her employment options are slim. Exiled, widowed, and on the brink of poverty…she reluctantly goes to work for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency in Chicago.

Adding insult to injury, her first big assignment is commissioned by the Union Army. In short, a federally sponsored transport dirigible is being violently pursued across the Rockies and Uncle Sam isn’t pleased. The Clementine is carrying a top secret load of military essentials–essentials which must be delivered to Louisville, Kentucky, without delay.

Intelligence suggests that the unrelenting pursuer is a runaway slave who’s been wanted by authorities on both sides of the Mason-Dixon for fifteen years. In that time, Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey has felonied his way back and forth across the continent, leaving a trail of broken banks, stolen war machines, and illegally distributed weaponry from sea to shining sea.

And now it s Maria’s job to go get him.

He’s dangerous quarry and she’s a dangerous woman, but when forces conspire against them both, they take a chance and form an alliance. She joins his crew, and he uses her connections. She follows his orders. He takes her advice.

And somebody, somewhere, is going to rue the day he crossed either one of them.

Review: This novel is considered in France as the second volume of the Clockwork Century series and presents a novella, but it is placed between Volume 1 and 2 abroad in the US. That said, I did not notice it at first and I was surprised by the thickness of the book when I received it.

We follow the first story and meet with other characters that we had the chance to discover before. Indeed, his ship stolen, the captain Hainey is determined to reclaim his own whatever the cost! Yet he did not expect that so many persons would try to prevent him from that, starting by Maria Boyd, a spy, sent to immobilize him.

It was interesting to see the determination of Hainey regarding his ship but also to see the loyalty of Maria tested and finally to attend to an unusual alliance. I have not been as carried away as with the first volume but I had a great time with this little story. It was very interesting and fascinating to see one more time the Cherie Priest universe.




Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

The Clockwork Century, Book 1

Synopsis: In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

Review: I had the opportunity to read The Borden Dispatches series and I really appreciated its originality in the recovery of the history of the Borden. Seeing Boneshaker I was then once again intrigued. I confess that by reading the synopsis, I was about anxious that the science fiction side would be too advanced for my taste, but I can now say that this is not the case and I loved discovering this steampunk world as well as its history and characters! Yes, I was completely carried away by the story!

Briar didn’t have an easy life, her father, a deceased former cop was mostly loved and respected by criminals but not as much by the locals. They could forgive her her origins if there had not been her ex-husband … Leviticus Blue who killed many people with the machine he had built for drilling the ground in Russia. But by destroying the city, this machine also left out a gas that changes people or kills them randomly. Building a wall for about five kilometers to limit the spread, the population was evacuated and now lives close to the scourge. But here, everything was quiet until Zeke, her son, decides to return to this part of the city to discover the truth about his family. Yet nothing had prepared him to confront this place so different from others and where danger lurks at every turn.

I took a great pleasure in reading this novel as I said and I even struggled to put it down before finishing it. We always look forward to see what will happen, to understand how our two heroes will come out of that and to see them adapt gradually to this new life. It’s quite impressive to see the conditions of life, to understand what people must do to survive. We understand the truth gradually about Leviticus, and the author reveals points until the last pages of the novel! Yes you will see, you will take pleasure in discovering all the main or secondary characters who bring so much to the story.

You will understand, this is a great discovery for me and I immediately looked at what volume 2 would reserve but I’m a little sad to see that other characters will be staged! But that will be for another discovery!