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Priest, Cherie

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1975-    ) US author who began publishing with the first volume of her Eden Moore sequence of Southern Gothic horror novels, comprising Four and Twenty Blackbirds (2003; exp rev Four and Twenty Blackbirds 2005), Wings to the Kingdom (2006) and Not Flesh Nor Feathers (2007); the series, circling around a young girl who becomes a woman while remaining sensitive to ghosts, focuses sharply on the complicity of fundamental Christianity in creating the heated world Eden Moore must navigate.

Priest's next series, the Clockwork Century sequence comprising Boneshaker (2009), Clementine (2010), Dreadnought (2010) and Ganymede (2011), is of direct sf interest: in a Steampunk Alternate History version of nineteenth century America – the Jonbar Point seeming to be the continued existence of an independent Texas – where the Civil War has (plausibly) dragged on for decades, and Seattle has been walled off after the protagonist's husband's steam-driven Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine has poisoned the dark City: to breathe the air is to risk becoming a Zombie. The first volume, less extensively than in many Young Adult tales, focuses its energy on the protagonist's runaway son; it won a Locus Award for best novel. Moving from Seattle, later volumes concentrate more interestingly on Priest's intensely detailed rationale for the clockwork-ridden, Invention-mad world she has created: there is a strong sense that the sequence, which does not seem close to completion, may grow into a significant contribution to twenty-first century Fantastika.

Of Priest's singletons, Dreadful Skin (2007) is a Western set in a fantasticated post-Civil War arena; Fathom (2008) and Those Who Went Remain There (2008) are not sf. A third series, the Cheshire Red books beginning with Bloodshot (2011) and Hellbent (2011), sets an obsessional Vampire protagonist in an urban fantasy world. [JC]

Cherie Priest

born Tampa, Florida: 30 July 1975



Eden Moore

Clockwork Century

  • Boneshaker (New York: Tor, 2009) [Clockwork Century: pb/Jon Foster]
  • Clementine (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2010) [Clockwork Century: hb/Myke Amend]
  • Dreadnought (New York: Tor, 2010) [Clockwork Century: pb/Jon Foster]
  • Ganymede (New York: Tor, 2011) [Clockwork Century: pb/Jon Foster]
  • The Inexplicables (New York: Tor, 2012) [Clockwork Century: pb/Cliff Nielsen]
  • Fiddlehead (New York: Tor, 2013) [Clockwork Century: pb/Cliff Nielsen]
  • Jacaranda (Burton, Michigan: Subterranean Press, 2015) [novella: chap: Clockwork Century: pb/Jon Foster]

Cheshire Red

  • Bloodshot (New York: Bantam Spectra, 2011) [Cheshire Red: pb/Argo/Shutterstock]
  • Hellbent (New York: Bantam Spectra, 2011) [Cheshire Red: pb/Argo/Shutterstock]

The Borden Dispatches

  • Maplecroft (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2014) [Borden Dispatches: pb/Blake Morrow]
  • Chapelwood (New York: New American Library/Roc, 2015) [Borden Dispatches: pb/Blake Morrow]

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