Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

I noticed it has been a while since I last posted a good book recommendation. To amend this situation, I’d like to bring to your attention one of the biggest attention grabbers in recent Steampunk literature, Boneshaker by Cherie Priest written in 2009.

If you want to talk about modern Steampunk like, Boneshaker is it. Here’s a summary of the story:

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 sixteen 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. (via

Because this is set more in Wild West America than Victorian England, some of the typical Victorian conventions are not there. But I like that Boneshaker is set in Seattle. It’s fitting that one of the most well known Steampunk works of this new wave of Steampunk is set in the real-world epicenter of American Steampunk, Seattle.

Cherie Priest was the guest of honor for SteamCon I and will be present for SteamCon II. If you’d like to learn more about her, you can read her blog here. You can buy a copy of Boneshaker here.

One comment on “Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

  1. […] going to participate with me? What are you going to read first? I recently started reading Boneshaker in an effort to find a quicker read than Android Karenina. I’m not sure what I’d like […]

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