By Cheri Priest
Tor. 2009. 416 pgs. Science Fiction
Almost sixteen years after the initial devastation, downtown Seattle has been sealed off with 200 foot high walls to keep the heavy Blight gas from spreading and the rotters (zombies) from attacking. Briar and her sixteen-year-old son, Ezekiel, live a bleak existence outside the walled off area in what is now called the Outskirts. Their lives are made worse by the fact that Briar’s husband, Dr. Leviticus Blue, is blamed for what happened in Seattle when his incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine (designed to dig through the hard ice of the Klondike to find gold) goes out-of-control on a test run, digs a path of destruction underneath the bank district, and releases a deadly gas that turns people into zombies.
Zeke wants to clear his father’s name and thinks he can find evidence left inside the walled city. With nothing but a gas mask, a map, and a small amount of food, he sets off on his mission. When Briar learns of her son’s plan, she hitches a ride on an airship and will stop at nothing to get him back.
This is an great adventure story of an alternate 1880s Seattle when it was not yet part of the United States and a very wild place to live. With cool, steam punk inventions, crazy scientists, and hordes of zombies, this book is bound to appeal to any sci-fi/adventure lover.