Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Nurse Mercy Lynch is elbows deep in bloody laundry at a war hospital in Richmond, Virginia, when Clara Barton comes bearing bad news: Mercy’s husband has died in a POW camp. On top of that, a telegram from the west coast declares that her estranged father is gravely injured, and he wishes to see her. Mercy sets out toward the Mississippi River. Once there, she’ll catch a train over the Rockies and—if the telegram can be believed—be greeted in Washington Territory by the sheriff, who will take her to see her father in Seattle.
Reaching the Mississippi is a harrowing adventure by dirigible and rail through war-torn border states. When Mercy finally arrives in St. Louis, the only Tacoma-bound train is pulled by a terrifying Union-operated steam engine called the Dreadnought. Reluctantly, Mercy buys a ticket and climbs aboard.
What ought to be a quiet trip turns deadly when the train is beset by bushwhackers, then vigorously attacked by a band of Rebel soldiers. The train is moving away from battle lines into the vast, unincorporated west, so Mercy can’t imagine why they’re so interested. Perhaps the mysterious cargo secreted in the second and last train cars has something to do with it?
Mercy is just a frustrated nurse who wants to see her father before he dies. But she’ll have to survive both Union intrigue and Confederate opposition if she wants to make it off the Dreadnought alive.
My Take: First off, I loved Boneshaker. It's one of the books that I consistently rec to people because I adored it. I loved Clementine for entirely different reasons. Of course that puts a lot of pressure on the next book in the series. A.lot. For me, it didn't disappoint.
Mercy is a woman who rises to the occasion every time. She makes no distinction between the color of a person's skin or the color of their uniform. She helps where she is needed. She offers comfort when she can. She's a product of this neverending war, calm in the face of flying bullets and gaping wounds.
Almost-night lashed around her. In the few slim feet between passenger car and mystery car, the air was sharp with bullets and loud with the clank of artillery and the grudging, straining pump of the Dreadnought's pistons jamming the wheels over and over and over, drawing the train along the tracks and farther into the sunset-chasing it, doomed never to catch it. Begging for just a few more minutes of light.In the end, it isn't about what she'll find in Seattle, but what she learns along the way. Both about herself and about the men who are trying to orchestrate the end of this terrible war. The question at hand is: At what point have you crossed the line in your bid to find victory?
I liked how Mercy's journey was directly brought about by the events that happened in Boneshaker. I liked seeing how Briar and Zeke and Captain Cly made out and what they've been up to since we left them.
In the end I was very satisfied with this chapter of a war-torn nation powered by steam and great flying ships, struggling to end a war that is slowly killing them.
More books by Cherie Priest