Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker is the first story in her Flash Gold Chronicles. What are those, I hear you asking? They are an absolutely marvelous series of western-style steampunk-flavored romps set in a gold rush-era Yukon featuring a terrifically inventive heroine, Kali McAlister.
In other words, it’s fun!
Kali McAllister plans to enter her “dogless sled” in a mushing race, all so she can win the $1000 prize and leave the Yukon in general and the town of Moose Hollow in particular, forever.
Kali’s mother was a witch. Well, a pretty powerful medicine woman of the local Han tribe, anyway. And her father, well, he was the closest thing to a wizard that this world is likely to see for a while.
And he invented “flash gold”. Gold flakes that go “BOOM” like gunpowder or TNT, only more stable, and way more valuable. The really neat thing about flash gold is that it obeys instructions like the punch cards on a jacquard loom, but way easier. Flash gold accepts verbal instructions.
The world’s last known supply of was her father’s legacy to Kali. But Kali’s trying to keep that fact very, very quiet. She has enough problems with the idiots in town who want to sabotage her sled.
So when a big, sword-toting stranger comes to town and wants to hire on as her guard for the race, Kali is pretty skeptical. But she needs a guard. It’s just that this man who calls himself “Cedar” is too expensively equipped for someone willing to work for just the promise of wages.
And that’s when Kali discovers that every nefarious no-good varmint in the Yukon and Northwest Territories seems to be hunting her for her father’s flash gold. And that Cedar is hunting all of them!
Escape Rating A-: I read this twice. I requested a review copy from the author, and read and really enjoyed it. But I didn’t get the review written. The third book in the Flash Gold Chronicles just came out (Hunted is #2, and Peacemaker is #3) and I decided it was time to write the review. I roared through Flash Gold again, and it was just as much fun the second time through.
A reader can’t ask for better than that!