Series: The Clockwork Century #1
Published by Tor Books on September 29th 2009
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.
Boneshaker is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while now. I have them in book format, but decided to listen to the first on audiobook. I loved the narration and felt pulled away right into the story. The setting is steampunk, a feeling of darker, older times but with a mix of technology. In fact, technology is what laid to ruin the world that Briar and Zeke currently live in. It’s Zeke’s father and Briar’s husband that created the machine that went awry and created a city to be blocked off because of the living dead.
Zeke is now a teenager and has gotten it into his head that he must find out what happened and decides to enter the lost city of Seattle. He lives with the fantasy that his father could not have caused this and seeks to find information that will clear their family name. When Briar finds that her son is missing and has gone into the city, she knows she must go after him. She knows the truth alone of what happened that night.
Briar finds herself hunting for her son, with the help of other survivors that make a living in the old city. Older people who are rough around the edges but willing to help. She hears whispers of a man who sounds like her dead husband, who has taken control of the old city. Although she is just looking for her son, she finds herself closer to meeting this man, especially after he seems to have her son and attempted to possibly kill her by throwing Rotters in her path.
I loved this first book. There was a ton of action and adventure. I loved the setting, the grim reality of living with the Blight – a poisonous gas that kills, and the Rotters, who are undead zombies. I loved the plot and the way that Briar kept her secret until the end of the book. She wishes she had confided in her son and been able to prevent the whole situation, but she wanted to shelter him from the truth.
Looking forward to more from Cherie, and I am impressed with the depth of characters and world building in this book.