A resourceful young heroine must protect the world from her enemies—and her own power—in this thrilling sequel to the acclaimed Breath of Earth, an imaginative blend of alternative history, fantasy, science, magic, and adventure.
When an earthquake devastates San Francisco in an alternate 1906, the influx of geomantic energy nearly consumes Ingrid Carmichael. Bruised but alive, the young geomancer flees the city with her friends, Cy, Lee, and Fenris. She is desperate to escape Ambassador Blum, the cunning and dangerous bureaucrat who wants to use Ingrid’s formidable powers to help the Unified Pacific—the confederation of the United States and Japan—achieve world domination. To stop them, Ingrid must learn more about the god-like magic she inherited from her estranged father—the man who set off the quake that obliterated San Francisco.
When Lee and Fenris are kidnapped in Portland, Ingrid and Cy are forced to ally themselves with another ambassador from the Unified Pacific: the powerful and mysterious Theodore Roosevelt. But even TR’s influence may not be enough to save them when they reach Seattle, where the magnificent peak of Mount Rainier looms. Discovering more about herself and her abilities, Ingrid is all too aware that she may prove to be the fuse to light the long-dormant volcano . . . and a war that will sweep the world.
Cato brings increased nuance and skilled characterization to her second Breath of Earth historical fantasy (after Breath of Earth), set in an alternate early-20th-century San Francisco. Ingrid Carmichael, who was unable to use her earth magic to spare the city from the infamous 1906 earthquake, takes up the cause of its persecuted Chinese residents, who have been blamed by the Japanese-American Unified Pacific (UP) coalition for the deaths of the city's protective geomancers. Accompanying her new friend Cy Jennings aboard his airship, Ingrid pursues her threatened Japanese mentor, Mr. Sakaguchi, and his Chinese allies north to Seattle, where they try to evade capture by a fox spirit masquerading as one of the 12 directors of the UP. Surviving encounters with legendary creatures thunderbirds, qilin, Theodore Roosevelt Ingrid uncovers more of her own uncanny heritage, which is linked to Pele, volcano goddess of Hawaii. Cato ably juggles historical fact and fantastical elements to create an alternate 1900s America as finely adorned with Asiatic touches as the modified kimono that Ingrid wears. Her characters of all backgrounds share traits such as a love of family that emphasize their kinship even as power, politics, and racial enmity drive them to war.