"J. Steven York's Clockwork Cowboy stories aren't just 'weird Westerns.' They're quite touching, too. Yes, Liberty Brass is a metal man with a busted 'governor.' But he's got as much heart as any other hero you'll find riding the range."
– Steve Hockensmith, author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Dawn of the Dreadfuls, and the Holmes on the Range mystery series
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Throughout the west tales are told of a legendary Clockwork Cowboy, a restless mechanical wanderer who rode a clockwork horse, and whose bullets never missed. Some called him traitor, or monster, or murderer, but some called him hero. Some said he never stood by idle when the strong preyed upon the weak, and no bad men, mechanical or flesh, were safe while he wandered the plains.
As Liberty Brass and his amazing clockwork horse, Piston, make their way west, they are attacked by a clockwork highwayman. They have no sooner subdued their attacker when they are all three made prisoner by a mysterious pair of clockwork men named Copperpot and Kettle, and taken to a forgotten plantation house deep in the Kentucky hills, ruled by the wondrous Steam Man. At first it seems a utopia, where mechanical men live in peace, free from the wars of men, and work for their common good.
But there are secrets here, deep as a mine shaft, and dark as Kentucky coal, and Liberty learns that the price of truth just might be the loss of his freedom – or his mechanical life!