Breath of Earth

Harper Voyager. Aug. 2016. 400p. ISBN 9780062422064. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062422071. FANTASY
OrangeReviewStarThe year is 1906. The United States and Japan have forged the Unified Pacific, a powerful group set on world domination, with China standing in their sights. In San Francisco, Ingrid Carmichael is secretary to one of the five geomancer wardens in the Earth Wardens Cordilleran Auxilliary. The wardens absorb earthquake energy, controlling the tremors and transforming it into electrical capacitor crystals known as kermanite. Daughter of a deceased warden, Ingrid carries a secret—she is a geomancer herself, the first woman with this incredible talent. When assassins attack and kill the wardens, Ingrid escapes with her mentor. However, without the full group of wardens, San Francisco faces one of the worst earthquakes in history. Added to this, Chinese refugees begin to force a wedge between the allied forces. Ingrid soon learns that her magic is even stronger than she realized, and she will need all of that strength to meet the conflict that may be contingent entirely on her actions.
VERDICT The acclaimed Cato (The Clockwork Dagger) creates an alternate early 20th-century San Francisco of stunning detail. Drawing on the power struggles of the refugees and women's work, this vivid reality will keep readers intrigued to the very end.
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