Ganymede by Cherie Priest
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cherie Priest is one of my favorite authors right now, and Ganymede is a good example of why. You start with a hefty helping of adventure, some humor, a little social commentary, mix it all up, and you get a novel that compels you to keep reading (even when you should be cleaning house or something else "productive").
This time, the action is mostly centered in New Orleans, where Josephine Early is trying to get a purloined Confederate submarine out of Lake Pontchartrain and out to the Gulf, where it will be given over to the Union. Problem? The sub has killed just about everyone who has tried to sail it, including its inventor. As a last resort, she sends to Seattle for her old friend (and lover) Andan Cly, airship pirate (last seen in Boneshaker, the first Clockwork Century book), on the chance that an airship pilot will have better luck than the sailors who have tried in the past. Cly sets out from Seattle with a new love interest on his mind, and a couple of new crew members. Throw in occupying Texians, zombis, and the tension from a long ago love affair, and you have another great story.
My only quibble is that a few bits of plot don't seem to lead anywhere, exactly, like the Texian who has basically taken up residence at Josephine's "boarding house." He plays a small part in learning about the zombis, or at least I assume he does, since the last we see of him, he is heading off to talk to a Texas Ranger in his hat and underwear, but there were so many hints that he was something more that I felt like he got lost somewhere. There were also hints that Kirby Troost, Cly's newest crewmember, may not be all that he seems - but no revelation. But these are really only minor quibbles in a book that kept me turning pages and holding my breath more than once.
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