Taking place in an alternative timeline/universe where bloodthirsty Vikings control all territory north of the Mason-Dixon—er, Mason-Pierre line, where the old west runs on steam, and where you can shoot a man dead just for looking at you the wrong way, it’s everything you wish your real life could be.
Vikings, cowboys, and steampunk. What could go wrong?
Everything moves on gears, from the metallic warhorses used by the cavalrymen, to many of the guns and rifles, to artificial implants used in medicine. Yet through it all, the story clings to its western roots. This is not a hi-tech world, despite the many miracles of metal and steam that bring the reader so much wonder. The world still feels very much disconnected, making the themes of outlaw justice much more believable, despite the convolutions of the plot in the latter pages of the novel.
The characters are archetypal: the outlaw turned (sorta) lawman, the kid gunslinger, the retired gunslinger who thought he left that life behind, the working girl with a heart of gold and a few surprises up her sleeve. They are mostly well-received and show sufficient development throughout the story.
If you are looking for an imaginative world where anything is possible, look no further. My enjoyment of this story really stems from its possibilities. I’ve never considered myself a fan of this genre, but I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did. And you should, too.