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 teenage 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.
I picked this book up at the library after doing a web search for popular Steampunk books. I've got a collaborative Steampunk project brewing, and I hadn't read much from the genre. I have to say I liked it. Briar is a tough woman who has been hiding from her past for 16 years, but when the time comes to act she doesn't hesitate. She gathers her gear and follows her son into a dead city.
Both her and her son meet the kinds of people you'd imagine hiding out in a dead city in the old, wild west. There are tavern brawls . . .with zombies, air ships, a bunch of Chinese guys, cool “technology”, a mad scientist, sky pirates, and even a few funny lines. The pace was good and the book was fun to read!