Written by: Scotty
Welcome to Seattle, Washington Territory, early 1860’s. The rumors of great gold reserves in the Klondike have run though the young U.S. and Russian territories. Being closer to these reserves, the Russian’s open up a contest to whoever is able to build a drill that is able to penetrate a hundred feet of solid ice to recover this massive treasure. Leviticus Blue, a local on Seattle’s Denny Hill rises to the challenge and builds the most effective drill to date, the Boneshaker. Upon experimenting with his newest accomplishment, Blue changes the landscape of his home city, forever.
The Boneshaker does its job, boring underneath the town, but being built on an unsteady foundation already; the city quickly collapses again, this time releasing a gas called Blight. With the city in shambles and the gas leak that does not only kill its victims, a wall is resurrected around the city to keep the all of its horrors locked inside. Although Blight can be used to produce a drink called sap, it also turns its victims who inhale enough of the noxious gas into the walking dead, called Rotters.
Brair Wilkes, formally Brair Blue is questioned about her late husband’s work and collusion with the Russians to release an attack on the country. Brair never said anything about the possible conspiracy and just tried to go on with her life as any normal person would, outside of the wall. Raising her fifteen year old Zeke on her own, she had nothing left from the life she had previously known. Zeke watched as his mother tried to defend her family name and noticed the toll it had taken on her over the years, so he decided that he would take it upon himself to find the proof that would clear his family name.
Boneshaker puts you into the eyes of the Wilkes family, as you follow young Zeke sneaking under the wall and into the main city of Seattle that has been ravished by the destruction that his father had caused with his machine. Not knowing who to trust, or what a Rotter really is, he teams up with who he thinks is trustworthy at the time, using his Grandfathers good name to fall back on if he gets into trouble. His mother, Brair also joins the journey as she searches for the only thing that matters to her at all in this life, her son. They both are in for more than they bargain for from the start, but are able to find allies, and meet the only man that is able to keep whoever is still alive in the city alive, Minnericht.
This book takes you on a fantastic trip into the past with technology that is before its time, but is able to run with what they had available to them. You meet several different characters in the Wilkes quest for the truth and get an all around feel for the hardships within the city. Being to Seattle several times in my life, the use of the ‘underground’ which is real in the city, just makes the story come to life just that much more. Boneshaker is also a steampunk genre novel, so if that is your arena and you combine that with trying to survive Zombie attacks, then this is the book for you. Either way, this is a solid read, make sure you check it out.