In the opening novel of Harris' new series, set in a dangerous and largely lawless alternate United States, a young gunslinger for hire hits the trail to track down a descendant of Rasputin.
Life isn’t easy and death is around every corner in Harris’ thrilling new adventure, in which the U.S. is a shadow of its former self. Franklin Roosevelt was assassinated before he could be sworn in, and the country was subsequently fractured: Mexico has reclaimed Texas, Canada has usurped a large swath of the northern states, and the Holy Russian Empire has taken over California. American Indians have also largely reclaimed the land that was stolen from them by the government. Nineteen-year-old Lizbeth Rose is a skilled gunslinger for hire, but a disastrous run-in with bandits has left her the sole survivor of her crew. After making it home, she’s approached by Paulina Coopersmith and Ilya “Eli” Savarov, two grigoris (aka wizards), who want her to help them find wizard Oleg Karkarov, who they think is a descendant of Rasputin and whose blood may be able to help their beloved czar. There’s a hitch: She tells them he’s dead but doesn’t mention that she’s the one who killed him. So, instead, they all set out in hopes of finding Oleg's brother. Narrator Lizbeth is a pragmatic young woman with an unshakeable work ethic who doesn’t let her gender define her and isn’t given to emotional outbursts, but there are just enough moments to remind readers that the loss of those she loves, and her desire to keep those she has left safe, is ultimately her driving force. Harris (Sleep Like a Baby, 2017, etc.), well-known for her wildly popular Sookie Stackhouse novels and TV series, populates her gritty, immersive new world with genuinely interesting characters, and chilling moments of horror—of both the human and supernatural kind—punctuate this relentlessly paced road trip.
A refreshing and cinematic, weird Western starring a sharp-as-nails, can-do heroine. Harris’ many fans will surely follow Gunnie Rose anywhere.