25 Women to Read Before You Die

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Original Essays | August 14, 2015

    Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz: IMG The Blind Spot of United States History

    The most frequent question readers ask about An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States is "Why hasn't this book been written before?" I'm... Continue »
    1. $11.20 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

Qualifying orders ship free.
List price: $15.99
Used Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Children's- Science Fiction and Fantasy
3 Beaverton Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z
2 Burnside Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z
1 Hawthorne Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z
2 Local Warehouse Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z



Boneshaker Cover

ISBN13: 9780765318411
ISBN10: 0765318415
Condition: Standard
All Product Details







She saw him, and she stopped a few feet from the stairs.
"I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I didn't mean to startle you."
The woman in the dull black overcoat didn't blink and didn't move. "What do you want?"
He'd prepared a speech, but he couldn't remember it. "To talk. To you. I want to talk to you."
Briar Wilkes closed her eyes hard. When she opened them again, she asked, "Is it about Zeke? What's he done now?"
"No, no, it's not about him," he insisted. "Ma'am, I was hoping we could talk about your father."
Her shoulders lost their stiff, defensive right angles, and she shook her head. "That figures. I swear to God, all the men in my life, they ..." She stopped herself. And then she said, "My father was a tyrant, and everyone he loved was afraid of him. Is that what you want to hear?"
He held his position while she climbed the eleven crooked stairs that led the way to her home, and to him. When she reached the narrow porch he asked, "Is it true?"
"More true than not."
She stood before him with her fingers wrapped around a ring of keys. The top of her head was level with his chin. Her keys were aimed at his waist, he thought, until he realized he was standing in front of the door. He shuffled out of her way.
"How long have you been waiting for me?" she asked.
He strongly considered lying, but she pinned him to the wall with her stare. "Several hours. I wanted to be here when you got home."
The door clacked, clicked, and scooted inward. "I took an extra shift at the 'works. You could've come back later."
"Please, ma'am. May I come inside?"
She shrugged, but she didn't say no, and she didn't close him out in the cold, so he followed behind her, shutting the door and standing beside it while Briar found a lamp and lit it.
She carried the lamp to the fireplace, where the logs had burned down cold. Beside the mantle there was a poker and a set of bellows, and a flat iron basket with a cache of split logs. She jabbed the poker against the charred lumps and found a few live coals lingering at the bottom.
With gentle encouragement, a handful of kindling, and two more lengths of wood, a slow flame caught and held.
One arm at a time, Briar pried herself out of the overcoat and left it hanging on a peg. Without the coat, her body had a lean look to it--as if she worked too long, and ate too little or too poorly. Her gloves and tall brown boots were caked with the filth of the plant, and she was wearing pants like a man. Her long, dark hair was piled up and back, but two shifts of labor had picked it apart and heavy strands had scattered, escaping the combs she'd used to hold it all aloft.
She was thirty-five, and she did not look a minute younger.
In front of the growing, glowing fire there was a large and ancient leather chair. Briar dropped herself into it. "Tell me, Mr ... . I'm sorry. You didn't say your name."
"Hale. Hale Quarter. And I must say, it's an honor to meet you."
For a moment he thought she was going to laugh, but she didn't.
She reached over to a small table beside the chair and retrieved a pouch. "All right, Hale Quarter. Tell me. Why did you wait outside so long in this bitter weather?" From within the pouch she picked a small piece of paper and a large pinch of tobacco. She worked the two together until she had a cigarette, and she used the lamp's flame to coax the cigarette alight.
He'd gotten this far by telling the truth, so he risked another confession. "I came when I knew you wouldn't be home. Someone told me that if I knocked, you'd shoot through the peephole."
She nodded, and pressed the back of her head against the leather. "I've heard that story, too. It doesn't keep nearly as many folks away as you might expect."
He couldn't tell if she was serious, or if her response was a denial. "Then I thank you double, for not shooting me and for letting me come inside."
"You're welcome."
"May I ... may I take a seat? Would that be all right?"
"Suit yourself, but you won't be here long," she predicted.
"You don't want to talk?"
"I don't want to talk about Maynard, no. I don't have any answers about anything that happened to him. Nobody does. But you can ask whatever you want. And you can take your leave when I get tired of you, or when you get bored with all the ways I can say 'I don't know'--whichever comes first."
Encouraged, he reached for a tall-backed wooden chair and dragged it forward, putting his body directly into her line of sight. His notebook folded open to reveal an unlined sheet with a few small words scribbled at the top.
While he was getting situated, she asked him, "Why do you want to know about Maynard? Why now? He's been dead for fifteen years. Nearly sixteen."
"Why not now?" Hale scanned his previous page of notes, and settled down with his pencil hovering over the next blank section. "But to answer you more directly, I'm writing a book."
"Another book?" she said, and it sounded sharp and fast.
"Not a sensational piece," he was careful to clarify. "I want to write a proper biography of Maynard Wilkes, because I believe he's been done a great disservice. Don't you agree?"
"No, I don't agree. He got exactly what he should have expected. He spent thirty years working hard, for nothing, and he was treateddisgracefully by the city he served." She fiddled with the half-smoked wand of tobacco. "He allowed it. And I hated him for it."
"But your father believed in the law."
She almost snapped at him. "So does every criminal."
Hale perked. "Then you do think he was a criminal?"
One more hard draw on the cigarette came and went, and then she said, "Don't twist my words. But you're right. He believed in the law. There were times I wasn't sure he believed in anything else, but yes. He believed in that."
Spits and sparks from the fireplace filled the short silence that fell between them. Finally, Hale said, "I'm trying to get it right, ma'am. That's all. I think there was more to it than a jailbreak--"
"Why?" she interrupted. "Why do you think he did it? Which theory do you want to write your book about, Mr. Quarter?"
He hesitated, because he didn't know what to think, not yet. He gambled on the theory that he hoped Briar would find least offensive. "I think he was doing what he thought was right. But I really want to know what you think. Maynard raised you alone, didn't he? You must've known him better than anyone."
Her face stayed a little too carefully blank. "You'd be surprised. We weren't that close."
"But your mother died--"
"When I was born, that's right. He was the only parent I ever had, and he wasn't much of one. He didn't know what to do with a daughter any more than I know what to do with a map of Spain."
Hale sensed a brick wall, so he backed up and tried another way around, and into her good graces. His eyes scanned the smallish room with its solid and unadorned furniture, and its clean but battered floors. He noted the corridor that led to the back side of the house. And from his seat, he could see that all four doors at the end of it were closed.
"You grew up here, didn't you? In this house?" he pretended to guess.
She didn't soften. "Everybody knows that."
"They brought him back here, though. One of the boys from the prison break, and his brother--they brought him here and tried to save him. A doctor was sent for, but ..."
Briar retrieved the dangled thread of conversation and pulled it. "But he'd inhaled too much of the Blight. He was dead before the doctor ever got the message, and I swear"--she flicked a fingertip's worth of ash into the fire--"it's just as well. Can you imagine what would've happened to him, if he'd lived? Tried for treason, or gross insubordination at least. Jailed, at the minimum. Shot, at the worst. My father and I had our disagreements, but I wouldn't have wished that upon him. It's just as well," she said again, and she stared into the fire.
Hale spent a few seconds trying to assemble a response. At last he said, "Did you get to see him, before he died? I know you were one of the last to leave Seattle--and I know you came here. Did you see him, one last time?"
"I saw him." She nodded. "He was lying alone in that back room, on his bed, under a sheet that was soaked with the vomit that finally choked him to death. The doctor wasn't here, and as far as I know, he never did come. I don't know if you could even find one, in those days, in the middle of the evacuation."
"So, he was alone? Dead, in this house?"
"He was alone," she confirmed. "The front door was broken, but closed. Someone had left him on the bed, laid out with respect, I do remember that. Someone had covered him with a sheet, and left his rifle on the bed beside him with his badge. But he was dead, and he stayed dead. The Blight didn't start him walking again, so thank God for small things, I suppose."
Hale jotted it all down, mumbling encouraging sounds as his pencil skipped across the paper. "Do you think the prisoners did that?"
"You do," she said. It wasn't quite an accusation.
"I suspect as much," he replied, but he was giddily certain of it. The prison-boy's brother had told him they'd left Maynard's place clean, and they didn't take a thing. He'd said they'd laid him out onthe bed, his face covered up. These were details that no one else had ever mentioned, not in all the speculation or investigation into the Great Blight Jailbreak. And there had been plenty of it over the years.
"And then ...," he tried to prompt her.
"I dragged him out back and buried him under the tree, beside his old dog. A couple days later, two city officers came out and dug him back up again."
"To make sure?"
She grunted. "To make sure he hadn't skipped town and gone back east; to make sure the Blight hadn't started him moving again; to make sure I'd put him where I said I did. Take your pick."
He finished chasing her words with his pencil and raised his eyes. "What you just said, about the Blight. Did they know, so soon, about what it could do?"
"They knew. They figured it out real quick. Not all the Blight-dead started moving, but the ones who did climbed up and went prowling pretty fast, within a few days. But mostly, people wanted to make sure Maynard hadn't gotten away with anything. And when they were satisfied that he was out of their reach, they dumped him back here. They didn't even bury him again. They just left him out there by the tree. I had to put him in the ground twice."
Hale's pencil and his chin hung over the paper. "I'm sorry, did you say--do you mean ...?"
"Don't look so shocked." She shifted in the chair and the leather tugged squeakily at her skin. "At least they didn't fill in the hole, the first time. The second time was a lot faster. Let me ask you a question, Mr. Quarter."
"Hale, please."
"Hale, as you like. Tell me, how old were you when the Blight came calling?"
His pencil was shuddering, so he placed it flat against the notebook and answered her. "I was almost six."
"That's about what I figured. So you were a little thing, then. You don't even remember it, do you--what it was like before the wall?"
He turned his head back and forth; no, he didn't. Not really. "But I remember the wall, when it first went up. I remember watching it rise, foot by foot, around the contaminated blocks. All two hundred feet of it, all the way around the evacuated neighborhoods."
"I remember it, too. I watched it from here. You could see it from that back window, by the kitchen." She waved her hand toward the stove, and a small rectangular portal behind it. "All day and all night for seven months, two weeks, and three days they worked to build that wall."
"That's very precise. Do you always keep count of such things?"
"No," she said. "But it's easy to remember. They finished construction on the day my son was born. I used to wonder if he didn't miss it, all the noise from the workers. It was all he ever heard, while I was carrying him--the swinging of the hammers, the pounding of the masons' chisels. As soon as the poor child arrived, the world fell silent."
Something occurred to her, and she sat up straight. The chair hissed.
She glanced at the door. "Speaking of the boy, it's getting late. Where's he gotten off to, I wonder? He's usually home by now." She corrected herself. "He's often home by now, and it's damnably cold out there."
Hale settled against the stiff wood back of his borrowed seat. "It's a shame he never got to meet his grandfather. I'm sure Maynard would've been proud."
Briar leaned forward, her elbows on her knees. She put her face in her hands and rubbed her eyes. "I don't know," she said. She straightened herself and wiped her forehead with the back of her arm. She peeled off her gloves and dropped them onto the squat, round table between the chair and the fireplace.
"You don't know? But there aren't any other grandchildren, are there? He had no other children, did he?"
"Not as far as I know, but I guess there's no telling." She leaned forward and began to unlace her boots. "I hope you'll excuse me," she said. "I've been wearing these since six o'clock this morning."
"No, no, don't mind me," he said, and kept his eyes on the fire. "I'm sorry. I know I'm intruding."
"You are intruding, but I let you in, so the fault is mine." One boot came free of her foot with a sucking pop. She went to work on the other one. "And I don't know if Maynard would've cared much for Zeke, or vice versa. They're not the same kind."
"Is Zeke ..." Hale was tiptoeing toward dangerous ground, and he knew it, but he couldn't stop himself. "Too much like his father, perhaps?"
Briar didn't flinch, or frown. Again she kept that poker-flat stare firmly in place as she removed the other boot and set it down beside the first one. "It's possible. Blood may tell, but he's still just a boy. There's time yet for him to sort himself out. But as for you, Mr. Hale, I'm afraid I'm going to have to see you on your way. It's getting late, and dawn comes before long."
Hale sighed and nodded. He'd pushed too hard, and too far. He should've stayed on topic, on the dead father--not the dead husband.
"I'm sorry," he told her as he rose and stuffed his notebook under his arm. He replaced his hat, pulled his coat tightly across his chest, and said, "And I thank you for your time. I appreciate everything you've told me, and if my book is ever published, I'll make note of your help."
"Sure," she said.
She closed Hale out, and into the night. He braced himself to face the windy winter evening, tugging his scarf tighter around his neck and adjusting his wool gloves.
Copyright © 2009 by Cherie Priest

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 13 comments:

LAC, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by LAC)
This is the first book I read in her Clockwise Series. I have now read six other books. I'm planning on reading her earlier works this year. What keeps me reading is the story that continues in her clockwise series. She brings in a lot of different personalities that have different struggles. I love to read but I won't waste my time on books I don't enjoy. I know you will enjoy her works.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Bluefastakan, September 21, 2011 (view all comments by Bluefastakan)
A very fun read. Cherie Priest manages to summon up the Seattle landscape and throw a handful of steampunk in the bag to make it interesting.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
SeattleMom, January 12, 2011 (view all comments by SeattleMom)
I bought this book for the pleasure of reading about an alternative Seattle. I was rewarded with a fantastic read! I have not enjoyed a new book from a USA author in years. Cherie's characters quickly come alive in her 1860 Seattle. She created an adventure that travels (and in a few areas rearranges) popular 2009 neighborhoods still around from the 1800s. Most enjoyable are her characters that capture that odd, unique Seattle attitude.

I would also like to compliment the cover artist Jon Foster and Cover designer Jamie Stafford-Hill. Yes a cover does not make the book good, but an excellent cover on a great book creates a complete package!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 13 comments

Product Details

Priest, Cherie
Tor Books
Winters, Cat
Wheaton, Wil
Reading, Kate
Science Fiction - General
Horror fiction
Mothers and sons
Fiction : Science Fiction - General
Science / General
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Alternative History
Horror & Ghost Stories
Edition Description:
Trade paper
The Clockwork Century
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
14 CDs, 13.5 hrs
8.25 x 5.5 x 1.25 in
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. The Tale of the Next Great War,... New Trade Paper $19.95

Related Subjects

Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » Genre
Fiction and Poetry » Horror » General
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Steampunk
Young Adult » General

Boneshaker Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Tor Books - English 9780765318411 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It's no secret that I am a fan of steampunk. For years, I have harbored a quiet love of dirigibles and goggles. So it's no surprise that it was love at first sight when I spied the cover of Boneshaker. What I found inside didn't disappoint: a zombie plague, cantankerous airship captains, a mad scientist, a rebellious teen, and a determined, gun-toting mother. Trust me, you won't be disappointed either.

"Staff Pick" by ,

Boneshaker is set in an alternate-history Seattle with deadly zombie gas! Cherie Priest may have returned to the South, but she's certainly left her mark on the Pacific Northwest. I love all of the Clockwork Century books, but Boneshaker is known and loved for a reason.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Maternal love faces formidable challenges in this stellar steampunk tale. In an alternate 1880s America, mad inventor Leviticus Blue is blamed for destroying Civil War — era Seattle. When Zeke Wilkes, Blue's son, goes into the walled wreck of a city to clear his father's name, Zeke's mother, Briar Wilkes, follows him in an airship, determined to rescue her son from the toxic gas that turns people into zombies (called rotters and described in gut-churning detail). When Briar learns that Seattle still has a mad inventor, Dr. Minnericht, who eerily resembles her dead husband, a simple rescue quickly turns into a thrilling race to save Zeke from the man who may be his father. Intelligent, exceptionally well written and showcasing a phenomenal strong female protagonist who embodies the complexities inherent in motherhood, this yarn is a must-read for the discerning steampunk fan." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Boneshaker is a steampunk-zombie-airship adventure of rollicking pace and sweeping proportions, full of wonderfully gnarly details."
"Review" by , "A fast-moving story filled with cool steampunk technology and scary zombies. Fans of science fiction will find much to enjoy here."
"Review" by , "Excellent characterization and a concept second to none."
"Review" by , "Zombies, steam-powered technology, airships, pirates, and mad scientists.... What more could you want? How about great storytelling, compelling characters, and an interesting plot? Priest combines all of these things and somehow even more."
"Synopsis" by ,
Cherie Priest's "west coast steampunk Victoriana book with  zombies, air ships, toxic gas clouds, mad scientists, dead folk heroes,  secret criminal societies, and Bonus! extended deleted scenes from the Civil War"
"Synopsis" by ,
In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to sand#233;ances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, sheand#8217;s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first loveand#151;a boy who died in battleand#151;returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

Praise for In The Shadow of Blackbirds

STARRED REVIEW "Wintersand#8217;s masterful debut novel is an impressively researched marriage of the tragedies of wartime, the 1918 flu epidemic, the contemporaneous Spiritualism craze, and a chilling love story and mystery."

and#151;Publishers Weekly, starred review

STARRED REVIEW "More than anything, this is a story of the breaking point between sanity and madness, delivered in a straightforward and welcoming teen voice."

and#151;Booklist, starred review

STARRED REVIEW "Winters deftly combines mystery, ghost story, historical fiction, and romance. Excellent pacing and deliciously creepy descriptionsand#133;and#8221;

and#151;School Library Journal, starred review

"This engrossing combination of historical fiction, ghost story, psychological thriller, and straight-up whodunit moves between genres with stunning ease, maximizing the tropes of each to satisfying effect."

and#151;The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Winters strikes just the right balance between history and ghost story, neatly capturing the tenor of the times, as growing scientific inquiry collided with heightened spiritualist curiosity."

and#151;Kirkus Reviews

"Mary Shelley is a likable, sympathetic heroine, and through her story, teen readers will get a glimpse of a fascinating time period, made all the more real by the haunting historic photographs that pepper the novel, from soldiers in trenches to policemen in gauze masks. Part romance, part mystery and part ghost story, In the Shadow of Blackbirds makes palpable a terrifying time that brought the horror of death into the homes of millions."


"One of the creepiest (in a good way) covers of the season! What's inside, historical Y.A. set at the time of the Spanish influenza, is equally haunting."

and#151;The Atlantic Wire

and#147;Cat Winterand#8217;s debut novel is creepy good.and#8221;

and#151;The Boston Globe

"Romance fans will love Stephenand#8217;s ghostly visits to Mary Shelley, confirming that their romance is as steamy as ever. Mystery lovers will enjoy the satisfactory resolution of the puzzle. Recommend this title to fans of Libba Brayand#8217;s The Diviners."


"In this book, the passion of first love and the paranoia of the times are realistically and movingly rendered."

and#151;The Oregonian

"Beautifully written and absolutely riveting. I enjoyed everything about this book."

and#151;The Statesman Journal


William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist 2014

School Library Journal Best Book of 2013

2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults

"Synopsis" by ,
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....


The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.


But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the oceans depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.


This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.


  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.