Book Review: Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill’s Dead Reckoning

Posted August 9, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Young Adult readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mercedes Lackey & Rosemary Edghill’s Dead Reckoning

Dead Reckoning


Mercedes Lackey, Rosemary Edghill

steampunk that was published by Bloomsbury USA Children's on June 5, 2012 and has 336 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Conspiracies, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, Harvest Moon, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Burdens of the Dead, Bastion, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Games Creatures Play, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea

A steampunk Western for young adults.

My Take

Interesting comment Lackey and Edghill made that once people went West, they tended to ignore the law — after all, who would see or hold them to account.

It’s an interesting trio of protagonists. Jett Gallantin is fleeing the devastation of the South in the wake of losing the Civil War and hunting for her brother while White Fox is a man straddling two worlds acting in the role of a protecter. Honoria Gibbons is a scientist using her father’s susceptibility to indulge herself. Together, they take down a silent scourge.

The enemy is both a cliché and insane. Using people’s gullibility with regards to religion and threat, Brother Shepherd is destroying lives for his own foul purposes.

It’s religion and greed versus steampunk science, a desire to protect, and sheer anger.

Loose thread: Whatever happened after Jett got shot up with elixir?? Doesn’t it have any effect on her?

The Story

Jett Gallantin has been searching throughout the West for the past two years now. Looking for her twin brother, his whereabouts lost by the end of Mr. Lincoln’s War. It’s strictly chance that finds Jett fleeing a town under attack by zombies. It’s strictly luck that Jett finds White Fox at Gibbons’ camp.

It could be fate that has brought both women together with information that enables White Fox to discover that a number of seemingly separate events are actually one.

Together, the three of them discover the truth behind Brother Shepherd’s plans. Talk about your Dr. Loveless and a Wild, Wild West!

The Characters

Jett Gallantin was once a girl, a twin who played the “boy” in her childhood adventures with her brother. Now those days of play keep her safe as she roams the West looking for him. Nightingale was to have been her brother’s horse and the stud for a herd of the most incredible horses. Now, they’re partners.

White Fox was the only survivor of a wagon train massacre. Taken in and raised by the Meshwahkihaki, he now works as a civilian scout for the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Riley in Kansas. Deerfoot is his horse. Caleb Lincoln is a soldier there, and he has concerns about his family in Glory Rest.

Honoria Verity Providence Gibbons is a Scientist and a Skeptic with a preference for Rational Dress. She knows everything and isn’t afraid to tell you. She’s running around the West with her Auto-Tachysode which is fueled by steam and armed with a trio of Gatling guns. Jacob Saltinstall Gibbons is a free-thinker and an easy touch for every con artist. Honoria sees it as her job to investigate those who try to scam her father. Well, it makes a great excuse for Honoria to avoid polite society anyway. Her mother was Maire Caithlen, an Irish maid in Jacob’s father’s house. Dr. Rupert Arthur Gordon is his dear friend in San Francisco, and he tries to keep the local touch reduced.

Finlay Maxwell is Alsop’s town drunk, and he holds the key to events.

Jerusalem’s Wall, once known as the Lazy J, is where Jett finds Sister Agatha; the Fellowship of the Divine Resurrection; the bitchy Brother Raymond; Sister Catherine who is praying Brother Shepherd will cure her son David — her husband, Henry, had other plans; and, the duplicitous Brother Shepherd, a.k.a., George Wilson Shepherd, the lazy middle son of a farmer who sought a better life with the equally holy Brothers Saul and Nathan.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a cross between warm and terrifying as White Fox, looking more like a contemporary, short-haired male in his brown T-shirt and jeans — setting aside his black hat — while Jett certainly looks all-woman in her all-black with a decidedly lopsided gun belt — not the way she wears it in the story with Gibbons bringing up the rear, her blonde hair pulled high up into a bun and wearing some kind of burnt orange Rational Dress. To the left, coming up from behind is a zombie couple: he in white shirtsleeves and she in a long dark dress. it looks like they’re on the prairie and that brown wind-whipped sky seems fixin’ to storm. Be sure to check out the back cover — they had to put the rest of their zombie army somewhere!

The title is both the Dead Reckoning Brother Shepherd visits on all in his path as well as the final accounting.