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The black god's drums
2018
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Summary
In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air - in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie's trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God's Drums.But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God's Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.
Trade Reviews
School Library Journal Review
Clark combines historical fiction with sci-fi, creating a futuristic and Civil War-era setting of New Orleans. Creeper, a young girl, lives in a part of the city that is a free and an open port. In Confederate territory, slavery is legal. Creeper works with airship captain Ann-Marie to save Doctor Duval, a Haitian scientist, who has been taken hostage by powerful groups. Doctor Duval has knowledge of a weapon called the Black God's Drums that can create hurricanes. Creeper knows that unleashing this weapon on her beloved city would be the end of her people. The short novel is brimming with suspense. Creole dialogue is used throughout. The two protagonists are expertly crafted, and their religious beliefs inform and add nuance to the storytelling. Both Creeper and the captain have spirits who guide and speak to them as well as provide them with mystical powers at times. (Creeper's is Oya, the Yoruba orisha of wind and storm.) The author adeptly interweaves different threads around empathetic and complex characters to create an intricate, exciting page-turner. VERDICT Readers of science fiction will appreciate this ride through New Orleans.-April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Making his debut, Clark creates a riveting world, taking his readers to the neutral city of New Orleans in 1871. The American Civil War, fought with steampunk ships and weapons, ended with an armistice, with no big tussles between the Confederates and the Union in the ensuing 15 years. Creeper, the protagonist, is not big on schooling but knows enough to get by on the streets of New Orleans. She knows who to avoid, who to steal from, and who to sell information to. She also receives messages from Oya, the African orisha of wind and storms, and knows there's danger afoot when she overhears Confederate soldiers discussing a weapon called the black god's drums. What she learns from Captain Ann-Marie when she trades that information worries her even more. The weapon is tied directly to various orishas and is virtually uncontrollable when unleashed. With the captain's help, she must discover what different parties intend to do with the weapon and how to prevent its devastating effects from being unleashed. A must-read for alternate history fans. For more Afrofuturist titles, see page 52.--Frances Moritz Copyright 2018 Booklist
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