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The Inexplicables, Post 1

I've blogged a bit recently here about BONESHAKER, a steampunk-fantasy novel by Cherie Priest, set in an alternative-history late 19th century Seattle and its outskirts.

That novel set off her CLOCKWORK CENTURY series. Most of the other books in the series are only loosely related to BONESHAKER.

They take place in other parts of the alt-history US, have little overlap in characters or plot with the original, etc.

But THE INEXPLICABLES is a true sequel. We're back the northwest, mostly within the city wall (yes, in these stories there's a tall wall around Seattle, although enterprising folk can and do get in and out), and the character/plot overlap is large.

The protagonist of THE INEXPLICABLES is Rector Sherman, a young man who has just been kicked out of the orphanage in the Outskirts of Seattle after having reached 18. He was a minor character in BONESHAKER.

Rector is neither a hero nor an anti-hero, though somewhat closer to the latter than the former. He is a drug dealer and user, someone who (like Scarface) uses his own deadly product. Part of his very mixed motivation for going over the wall into Seattle proper is the fact that Seattle is the source of the [fictional] drug involved here: both as dealer and as user he wants to get closer to the source.  But there is a lot else involved.

You'll find no spoilers here: just a brief quote and I'm done.

Inside the wall, Zeke serves as a sort of guide for Rector -- they had been friends on the outskirts -- and Zeke was one of the two principal protagonists of the earlier novel. The following passage shows the sometimes complicated/indirect narrative style. Zeke, with Rector standing behind him, pokes his head into a room where three men are standing:

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"'Frank, Willard. And Ed?' Zeke said. He seemed unsure of the third man's name. 'You fellows think you can wrap it up down here and come up to Maynard's? Miss Angeline's calling a meeting, and it's real important.'

"Frank, if Rector had gauged the greetings correctly, jabbed the point of a long, thin knife into the wooden countertop. 'Real important, you say?'

"'No, that's what the princess says,' Zeke grinned. 'So it's up to you whether you come or not. But if I was you, I'd be there.'"

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I'll discuss what I like about that passage in a follow-up posting.

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