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 that 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 15 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.
©2010 Cherie Priest (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Piracy meets politics head-on in this steampunk thriller.... Explosive battle scenes, riveting action, and a sharp-eyed examination of the mistrust between Croggon's all-black crew and very white, very Southern Maria play out in a desperate race against the clock." (Publishers Weekly)
Victor Bevine's narration ruined this for me. His voice was too forceful, like he was reading a monster truck rally ad most of the time. And the one character who was supposed to sound Jamaican came off, to my ear at least, sometimes as Irish, sometimes even slipping into German, with only a tinge of Jamaican.I didn't find the story terribly interesting, either. Combine these two things and I doubt I'll try other of Cherie Priest's works.
This is a novella/short story in the alternate history created for Boneshaker & Dreadnought.
It was nice to see the return of some characters from Boneshaker, although the story is self-contained enough that you don't have to have read the others to understand it (it helps flesh out some allusions though). The reading of this was why I almost gave up on this story. In Chapter 2 when the main female character meets her boss... it was almost too much to bear. The narrator's Scottish accent for the boss of the agency was very very difficult to listen to - it was a caricature of a Scottish accent, and was VERY painful. I stuck through it, and fortunately it's the only chapter this character appears in.
Either just do a faint accent, or don't even try. The exaggerated terrible accent which appeared in the story was painful. I have never met a scot who sounds like that, and an extended vacation there didn't expose me to anything like it.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
I wanted to like this book more than I do. Not a lot of character development. Although I would have liked them to grow. Entertaining scenes with air balloons and some fun things about civil war politics. In all, a pleasant fluff book.
I did not enjoy this book at all. The phrase "science fiction" generally implies that the writer has some basic understanding of science, correct? A high school equivalent understanding of physics would be sufficient to cause any reader to find this book laughable.
Suspending disbelief on that topic is difficult enough, but when you couple it with the writer's borderline offensive level of whitewashing of the confederacy and ludicrous degree of vilification of the union (every character who identifies as pro-union is practically mustache-twirlingly evil for no reason).
Frankly this book is just terrible. I didn't like it and (whoever you are) I don't think you'll like it either. Save your money, your Audible credits and your time, skip this one.
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