Juno, Mar 2008, $6.99
The immense powerful city of Ondirium depends on its incredible Great Engine to run everything from the ground lowest caste corridors to the exalted peaks of the elite privileged sectors serving as a precise CLOCKWORK HEART of the metropolis. Taya the metal winged Icarus courier, who due to her position, can journey anywhere in the city from exalted Primus to middle caste Secundus to run down Tertius. One day while soaring across the city she notices a wireferry carriage failing; though she rescues the passengers including exalted Viera and her son Ariq, Taya had never seen machine failure before.
Viera introduces her savior to the highest elite where Taya has never been until now. These wealthy lofty individuals run the city. Taya is especially attracted to Decatur leader Alister Forlore and admires the dedication to the poor of his more forbidding somewhat estranged brother Cristof. However, a terrorist attack precisely engineered by the anti- Great Engine Torn Cards kills Alister and Viera's husband Caster. Taya and Cristof grieve yet feel strongly a need to investigate to learn why Caster and Alister were the targets although officially they are not sanctioned to do so. They will soon find more than they were seeking in the corridors of the city.
With a nod to hi tech (punch cards?) science fiction, the heart of CLOCKWORK HEART is a wonderful amateur sleuth fantasy. The story line is fast-paced especially the investigation while the multitude cast makes the caste system seem real. Fully developed are the heroine, two of her Icarus peers, the dour hero, his late brother, and other exalted; the support cast is solid coming from all over the city. However it is Ondirium that stars as the exalted heart of an enjoyable tale of three “cities”.