Plot: Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey, the notorious pirate, suddenly finds himself without a ship. His dirigible, The Free Crow, has been stolen and rechristened The Clementine and he is willing to do anything to get it back… even cross into the south, if need be, where he not only a pirate but an escaped slave. Meanwhile fomer Confederate spy Mary Isabella Boyd has become too famous to be of any use to her former employers. Widowed, exiled and poor, she accepts a job with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. Her first assignment as an agent is to track down The Clementine and make sure its cargo reaches Louisville. These two dangerous people could not be more different but they soon find that their goals are not totally incompatible.
This review is based on the audiobook read by Dina Pearlman and Victor Bevine.
I’ve been wanting to read Clementine for a while now (you may have noticed that I’m a rabid Cherie Priest fan) but there was a very limited printing and the book is now almost impossible to get. I was thus overjoyed to find out there was an audiobook version.
The story takes place in Priest’s Clockwork Century universe, though you do not need to read Boneshaker or Dreadnought to understand it. This novel is shorter than its two companion books but it is every bit as exciting with dirigible battles, fire fights and battles of wills. And for all that she does not skimp on description or character development. Hainey and Boyd are complex and fascinating characters who come to grudgingly respect each other. Books need more female characters like the ones Priest writes: Boyd is intelligent and ladylike but also fearless and a mean shot with pistol and machine gun.
As I said, the hardcover is out of print but the audiobook is easily available (with great readings by Pearlman and Bevine!) and I understand that a softcover version is in the works.
Challenges: Quirky Brown Reading Challenge (5)