Review: Abner Marsh has had a dream of owning the grandest steamboat on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, but has had to content himself with smaller, not-so-grands boats. Until a run of misfortune leads Joshua York to seek him out as a partner. York agrees to finance the building of the Fevre Dream, the soon-to-be grandest and fastest steamer on the rivers…under the condition that his “odd habits” and demands be accepted and followed without question. Abner agrees and the Fever Dream is soon complete and steaming along the rivers, and, indeed, the Fevre Dream quickly begins to show it’s one of the fastest boats around.
She went flying right on out ahead of the Southerner, and when she was safely clear of her Kitch eased her right in front of the other steamer's bow, leaving them to ride her waves. All those worthless berthless pilots were chuckling and passing around smokes and yapping about what a heller of a boat this Fevre Dream was, while the Southerner receded behind them and Abner Marsh grinned like a fool.
Initially, the odd habits aren’t overly difficult to deal with, but when the demands are frequent stops at non-standard ports of call, the passengers complain and Abner finds himself questioning his partner, who reveals little, but reminds Abner of the terms of their agreement.
Eventually, though, as it becomes more and more difficult to pickup and deliver cargo and passengers in a timely manner, Abner confronts Joshua, who reluctantly reveals his nature and story, as well as his true purpose for partnering with Abner and building the Fever Dream. This better understanding of each other marks the beginning of a tenuous friendship that will, ultimately, be sorely tested.
For a long moment he did not know which it would be, whether Joshua would take the bottle or tear open the veins in his wrist. "We all got to make our [GD] choices, Joshua," he said softly, in the grip of Joshua's strong fingers.
Bottom Line: In typical G.R.R. Martin fashion, he does a fantastic job of developing the main character Abner Marsh. Joshua York and the other characters, while not as fully fleshed out, are more than just names on a page. The action is good, the mood superb, and, the story is very well done. This doesn’t read like your typical vampire novel. It’s worth checking out.