From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. An intimate, well-crafted portrait of a nurse on a mission adds depth to this exceptional Civil War steampunk thriller, the self-contained sequel to 2009’s Locus Award–winning Boneshaker. Mercy Lynch, recently widowed and taxed to exhaustion by caring for Confederate wounded in Richmond, must cross the war-torn nation to reach her estranged father, who lies dying in the Washington territories. After her dirigible is shot out of the air, Mercy joins Horatio Korman, a Texas Ranger with an agenda, on the Union’s famous steam engine, the Dreadnought. On their trail are desperate Confederate soldiers and a zombified Mexican legion. The battles and intrigue are entertaining, but the real draw is Priest’s latest no-nonsense heroine, who comes equipped with a full measure of sharp judgment and brutal competence as well as a nurse’s kind (but not saintly) heart.
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Gutsy Mercy Lynch returns in this sequel to Boneshaker (2009), which begins with her working as a nurse in a Richmond hospital in a strangely extended American Civil War. Her husband has died as a Union POW, and now her father is dying in the Pacific Northwest. She sets out to reach his bedside, first by riverboat and then, from St. Louis onward, by rail. The locomotive Dreadnought is a character in its own right (which reflects the view of “high-tech” at that time), and Mercy also has to deal with hostile Indians, Union and Confederate guerrillas, just plain bandits, and some of her fellow passengers with designs on her virtue and everything else that is hers. The historical setting is finely detailed, the action is nonstop, and Mercy will engage readers of both genders. --Roland Green