Genre: Steam Punk
Setting: A steam punk version of the Western United States in the late 19th century.
First Sentence: There were plenty of good ways to die.
This novel is the third in Monk's The Age of Steam series.
There is a power in the world. It is called the Strange. The Strange possesses terrible power which could destroy mankind.
There are unscrupulous humans who can control the Strange and use it to gain power and wealth. To control the Strange, evil humans have created a device called the Holder. Their goal is to overthrow the U.S. government and control the world. The Holder has been broken into seven parts. Our intrepid band of characters are following the trail of one of the pieces.
Our main character is Cedar Hunt. Cedar and his brother have been cursed by the Pawnee to destroy the Strange and find the Holder. To keep him true to the cause, on the night of the full moon, Cedar transforms into a wolf and roams the countryside looking for Strange to kill.
Travelling with Cedar is an eclectic group of people. Each has a unique talent for casting spells, inventing devices of sensing unseen phenomena.
In the dead of winter, Cedar has followed the scent of the Holder, and led his fellow travelers to Des Moines. The mayor of Des Moines, Killian Vosbrough, has used his family's wealth and influence to gain control of the city. There he has been amassing metal, machines, and even the power of the Strange, for some nefarious purpose.
Somehow connected with this gathering of evil is the mystery of the missing children. Many of the children of Des Moines have simply vanished. It is up to our intrepid protagonists to find the Holder, solve the mystery of the children, and to defeat the evil Mr. Vosbrough.
I enjoyed reading this novel. There is lots of action in every chapter. In each chapter the characters are taking chances, defending themselves, or running for their lives. For me, from the first page, it was suspend disbelief and hang on for the ride!
Although this novel could be read by itself, most readers would enjoy it more if it were read in sequence. I will definitely be looking for the next book in the series.
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