Friday, September 3, 2010

Review: Clementine by Cherie Priest

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.

My Take: The second in The Clockwork Century series, following 2009's outstanding Boneshaker. Self contained enough that you won't be lost if you skip the first, but why would you want to? Yes, it was THAT good.
"Why are you chasing the Clementine? What's on board that you want so badly?"

"Not a goddamned thing," her told her. "I don't want anything that ship's carrying. I want the ship itself, because it's mine."

"Yours?"

The motion of the Valkyrie's new course made the floor under their feet swing slightly, and they both swayed as they spoke. "Yes," he said. "It's mine. I stole it fair and square, years ago, and I want it back."
I love that Hainey's so unrepentantly possessive of his ship. He and his crew will do nearly anything to get her back. The only thing that gave me a sad face while reading was the lack of Rotters. Sure, we had a mention or two but I wanted more. Despite that, this was a fun little romp back in the world where the Civil War marches on and the sky is the preferred home for lawless men like Hainey. I'm looking forward to book 3 something fierce.

Other books by Cherie Priest

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