Boneshaker (Clockwork Century 1)
Zombies aren’t limited to a single timeline. And terrific authors like Cherie Priest can make them horribly real in any reality.
Like this one: In the early days of the Civil War, an inventor named Leviticus Blue (Priest comes up with the coolest character names, always) creates a huge machine that can drill right through the Alaska permafrost and bring gold up to the surface of the Klondike… except the Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill hits a cavern filled with very bad gas that blasts a crater into the middle of Seattle and transforms much of the populace into “rotters” (someone should make a list of all the names that have been invented for zombies, but it’d be longer than this book). The government, in its wisdom, solves the problem by building a wall around the devastated city and abandoning it. But that doesn’t mean it disappears.
Cut to sixteen years later, as Priest relates the adventures of the heroes, villains, and monsters who scrape out a living in the remains of Seattle – outside the wall and occasionally inside the wall. The story is filled with great speculative history, action, awesome devices, and some of the smartest and most admirable female characters in zomfic. It may be the first, and one of the best, examples of steampunk fiction – and maybe the only zombie steampunk fiction around.
Best of all, Boneshaker is only the first of Priest’s five-book series, The Clockwork Century, and every one of them is better than the last. This first book – all of them, actually – also has one of the coolest covers around.
Come on. Zombies and dirigibles. What more could you want?