Set in the gold rush era 1890's Yukon, this little book is a gem, or should I say nugget? I loved it. The delightful protagonist, Kali McAlister, is aSet in the gold rush era 1890's Yukon, this little book is a gem, or should I say nugget? I loved it. The delightful protagonist, Kali McAlister, is a tinkerer. Left to fend for herself in the frigid, rough and tumble Yukon after the death of her alchemist/steampunk scientist father, she builds amazing mechanical contraptions, much to the dismay of the local townsfolk. Her unique skills are occasionally useful to them, so they tolerate her presence even though they suspect her of being a witch.
Her goal is to win a dog sled race with her steam-powered "dogless sled." With the prize money from the race, she hopes to be able to finally leave the backwards little town of Moose Hollow and start a new life. That proves easier said than done, however. A mysterious stranger who calls himself Cedar offers the services of his Winchester and sword. Not wanting or needing any so-called "help," she grudgingly agrees to let him come along after he saves her life. And her life, it seems, is constantly in danger from thieves who are convinced she holds the secrets of Flash Gold, a mysterious substance invented by her late father that holds the promise of untold power.
Kali and Cedar begin their adventures in the race, where they battle the harsh Yukon elements, other mushers, and a stream of bloodthirsty bandits, gangsters and pirates who will do anything to capture Kali and possess her secrets.
Wow, this has so much cool stuff: Pirates, airships, mechanical guard dogs, swords and more. You should definitely check out Flash Gold if you have any interest in steampunk, westerns, or even just want a good adventure tale.