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It’s 1863. The Gold Rush is in full swing, but Russia wants to make sure all that Klondike gold is really hard to get to before selling Alaska to the United States. Inventor Leviticus Blue is commissioned to build an immense steam-powered ice-drilling machine. But one day Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine comes bursting out of his Seattle basement and wreaks havoc on the city. Worse, the machine opens a vein of toxic subterranean gas (dubbed “the Blight”) that kills everyone who comes into contact with it—and then turns them into moaning members of the walking dead. Sixteen years later, with the Civil War still raging in the east, Seattle is an abandoned wreck surrounded by a two-hundred-foot high wall that keeps the Blight and its rotting victims contained. Outside the wall Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes, lives a hard and lonely life with her son Zeke. Briar is resigned to her status as social outcast, but Zeke wants to know the truth about the disaster that his father caused. So he sneaks over the wall into the city that was once booming Seattle. Briar, desperate for his safety, goes after him, and as Zeke searches for answers and Briar searches for her son, they meet a rag-tag crew of survivors who have eked out a life for themselves amidst the Blight-infested ruins. Some of these people help (Lucy the barkeep and her mechanical arm; Jeremiah Swakhammer and his zombie stun-gun) and some hinder (mad scientist Dr. Minnericht, who bears an eerie resemblance to the infamous Levi Blue), but all of them add to the action-packed adventure of Boneshaker. Author Cherie Priest paints a vivid portrait of a Seattle that is both based in history and wholly its own fantastic world, gives readers a delightful pair of heroes with wiseass Zeke and his tough-as-nails mother Briar, and throws in lots of good and gory zombie action on top of a whole mess of inventive steampunk technology.
posted Jun 8, 2010 at 11:40AM
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