By Vicki Delany
Travel back in time to the days of the Klondike gold rush and meet one of the fiestiest ladies then and now. She's Fiona MacGillivray - Mrs. MacGillivray to her many customers at the Savoy Saloon and Dance Hall, which she co-owns in Dawson, 1898. And she can't seem to stay out of trouble.
In fact, trouble seems to track her down, as witnessed in the earlier three books in this series. But that shouldn't be surprising because as we find out right from the start, Fiona has a somewhat questionable past, despite all her ladylike qualities, and being far away in the north suits her just fine. In fact, in Gold Web, we find out even more about her past and how her life on the streets as a young girl contributed to the determined, clever and crafty woman who is tough enough to own a saloon in a town filled with men struck with gold fever.
All the regulars are back -- Angus, her twelve-year-old son who works part-time in the general store and dreams of being a Mountie; the handsome North-West Mounted Police Corporal Richard Sterling who has a soft spot for Fiona but can't seem to tell her about it, partly because he's too busy keeping the rowdiness of this wild town in check; and, her business partner Ray Walker.
Dawson, being a wide open town with lots of gold nuggets flowing across the bars, gambling tables and stages, attracts an equally boisterous gang of prospectors and women. This time, there's a murder out back of the Savoy and the victim calls out Fiona's name as he stumbles towards her.
The story is rich in historical references. You can see the mud on the street as Fiona tucks her skirt into her boots and trudges along; cringe at the sight of the lecherous drunks; and get a sense of the tightrope the NWMP would often walk in order to keep law and order.
Delany has added another historical layer this time, that has the possiblity of the Scottish Independence Movement taking hold in the Yukon and hints of the Fenian Brotherhood. There's also the American interest in obtaining the territory and even a plot to trade Alaska in exchange for the Yukon...well, you'll have to read it to get the whole picture.
Vicki Delany has managed to fill the pages with a different era, with history and scenery that comes alive on the pages, and with three-dimensional characters whose stories will capture you in the web. The Gold Web, that is.