Blood Curse opens on the same brutal ground as the first book of Jake Lasater’s adventures, Blood Ties — in Jake’s origin story. In Blood Ties we saw him obey his pointless order to sacrifice his life and his men’s mives on Jackinaw Ridge during the civil war. In Blood Curse we start with Jake’s memories of waking up as an army surgeon amputates his limbs, before replacing them with clockwork counterparts. This, it turns out, is a vision Jake Lasater relives nightly.
By day, Jake’s life isn’t much easier. The Emperor Norton — insane, or superspy? — has given Jake evidence that Jake’s father was murdered by the President of the Empire of Texas. Jake’s quest for the truth will thrust him into the middle of a war between Texas and the Free States, even as his entanglements with the mysterious Lady Corina Dănești leads him into conflicts darker and larger still.
This is steampunk from the rugged, adventuring side of the genre. The corsets here conceal razor-sharp steel fans, and Jake Lasater is Rooster Cogburn with mechanical limbs and a romantic subplot worthy of Bram Stoker.
Hey, if you like steampunk, remember that my own novel The Kidnap Plot was just released from Knopf. Look for it everywhere!