Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Black God's Drums, by P. Djeli Clark, August 2018

Young teen Creeper, a.k.a. Jacqueline, is making her living as a thief in Free New Orleans, some decades after a Civil War that didn't end quite the way ours did. She has thus far resisted her late mother's former madam's attempts to send her to school, though she doesn't reject the occasional hot meal and safe place to sleep.

But one night she is watching the airship dock from her favorite hidey-hole when a Haitian scientist meets with some Confederate soldiers, promising them "Shango's Thunder" is exchange for "my jewel."

This is big news, and possibly disastrous for New Orleans. "Shango's Thunder is the weapon Haiti and the Free Islands used to keep their independence. It would be a disaster for New Orleans if the Confederates get it.

Creeper uses all her sources to gather information, Along the way, she meets a smuggler, Ann-Marie, captain of the Haitian airship Midnight Robber, who may hold the key to Creeper's more personal goal of seeing more of the world than New Orleans.

That's if any of them survive, which may not happen, once the scientist is snatched from the Confederates by the even more malignant Jeannots.

This is an interesting world well-developed in the space of a novella, with excellent characters and a plot that holds together and moves.


I received this novella as part of the 2019 Hugo Voters Packet.

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