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 16 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.
©2009 Cherie Priest (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
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Critic reviews

"Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ian David Burrell on 15-07-11

Steampunk Adventure

Well I really listened to it rather than read it. An exciting roller-coaster ride full of gunfights, dirigibles, infernal machines and zombies. But not only that, rounded characters you really care about. A perfect steampunk adventure.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 29-04-11

Entertaining but flawed

I enjoyed listening to this book but I thought the plot was a little daft and facets of the story were flawed, so that I found it difficult to believe and get involved in it.

For example, inside the walled-off city there are hundreds of typically slow, loping and utterly unscary undead. Some 'living' people chose to remain in the poisoned city when the wall was erected and now eek out a living and existence there. The main protagonists enter the city 16 years after the wall went up and are chased by the undead only to be saved by one of the (living) locals who has a mechanical 'clapper' device. This sonic weapon stuns and incapacitates great swathes of the marauding zombies for maybe five minutes. My point is, why hasn't anyone done the kind thing and despatched all the undead while they are lying prone and unable to defend themselves? This weapon introduces the possibility that the living could have cleared the whole city of the undead in maybe the first week (after its invention), but instead are themselves being picked off by the zombies, some of whom must be eligible for bus-passes by now.

Also, a toxic smog covers the whole city, but the wealthy seem to have crops and chickens for food, with no mention of how this trick is achieved - maybe mini gas-masks for the chickens?

It was points like these that frustrated me a little, since the society that has been carved out in the city has not been thought out properly by the author, and if she's not clear on how the city has evolved over the years, what hope is there for me?

If you can suspend, or preferably throttle your disbelief for a few hours, this was an entertaining listen, which I thought was well read by both narrators, who made a good effort of bringing Ms Priest's characters and story to undeath.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Tracey on 14-02-13

Doesn't live up to potential

I thought I would LOVE this book -- I mean, zombies, steampunk (with Zeppelins), what's not to like? Well, I guess a strong narrative and plot would have helped. Also, I never really felt engaged to any of the characters and kept hoping they would stumble across some zombies to add a bit of zest.
The performance, for the most part, is well done, although when the 2 primary characters come together, it becomes a bit confusing (as we have become used to Wil reading Zeke's lines and Kate reading Briars's spots, so it takes some getting used to as they read chapters without regard to who is speaking.)

Overall, I recommend a pass on this book unless you just rally love Steampunk.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Jim "The Impatient" on 26-07-12

YA all the way

After reading great books like the Hunger Games and The Knife of Never Letting Go, I wondered what makes a book, Ya. I thought It meant no sex, but after reading this book, I now know it means, it reads like it was written by a youth.

The concept of the story was pretty good, reminding me of Sanderson's "Elantris" and the movie," Escape From New York". Unfortunately, CP failed to capitalize on a great story Idea.

Briar Wilkes the main character has no character. She is a boring droll individual. I could easily understand why her husband was bored with her.

I have never heard so many cliches in one book in my life.

Even the Zombies are boring in this book. The mad scientist is pretty tame and lame.

I will admit that I did listen to all of it, because I did want to find out what was going to happen and there was a small twist at the end.

Cherie is not going to break out of the YA category with this type of effort.

I enjoyed Wil Wheaton's performance and Kate Reading was good in all, but her interpretation of Briar Wilkes. She did not help make her real, using the same voice she used for Aes Sedai. While it worked for Aes Sedai it does not work for a Mom with a son in danger.

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18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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