Stonewall Jackson survived Chancellorsville. England broke the Union’s naval blockade, and formally recognized the Confederate States of America. Atlanta never burned.
It is 1880. The American Civil War has raged for nearly two decades, driving technology in strange and terrible directions. Combat dirigibles skulk across the sky and armoured vehicles crawl along the land. Military scientists twist the laws of man and nature and barter their souls for weapons powered by light, fire, and steam.
But life struggles forward for soldiers and ordinary citizens. The fractured nation is dotted with stricken towns and epic scenes of devastation–some manmade, and some more mysterious. In the western territories, cities are swallowed by gas and walled away to rot while the frontiers are strip-mined for resources. On the borders between North and South, spies scour and scheme, and smugglers build economies more stable than their governments.
This is the Clockwork Century.
It is dark here, and different.
My Review of Tanglefoot
Free to read online, Tanglefoot is a short steampunk story set in The Clockwork Century universe. It’s standalone so you don’t need to have read the first book in the series before you read this.
Edwin is a young boy living in hiding in a sanitarium, in the basement lab of an elderly inventor. As the inventor slowly slides into dementia, Edwin becomes more and more lonely, eventually building himself a robot friend that he names Ted.
But robot Ted isn’t as friendly as Edwin hoped it would be.
I love Cherie Priest’s books, and this atmospheric and creepy short story is a good starting point for the Clockwork Century series.
You can read Tanglefoot online for free.