Series: Clockwork Century 2
Author: Cherie Priest
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Copy: bought it myself
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
I feel like a kid again when I read Cherie Priest’s wonderful clockwork tales. There is something soulful and handmade about the whole genre modern people is attracted to and it is the perfect excuse to indulge in airships, air pirates, secret weapons and the civil war era. Priest does more than feeding my juvenile delight in adventures, she also touches on racial issues, moral and loyalty conflicts. The characters do think about things like that in a way that feels very ‘period’ and natural. The story takes place to a background of an extended civil war where racism is very much alive and a white woman traveling with three black men has some issues.
This is a standalone story that share Clementine, Captain Hainey and his crew with Priest’s first Clockwork Novel Boneshaker.
Clementine has a good balance between fast pace and good character development. The characters also have a good balance between strengths and vulnerabilities. Both Hainey and Boyd are formidable characters all by themselves. They don’t take crap from anyone. It is a delight to read them interact with each other, I got goose bumps. They do clash in a good way. But they come across as real humans even if they are not to be crossed.
My Clementine is a beautiful print by Subterranean press with cover art by Jon Foster. I read the whole book in one go the same night I got it, I could not stop. Now I can’t wait until I get Dreadnought next month.
1. Boneshaker (Tor)
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