I think that George Mann has to be one of the most reviewed authors on my blog! With every new offering I just can’t say no and I’m never disappointed.
The Affinity Bridge is the first in the Newbury & Hobbes series. I had the pleasure of reading another novel from the series a couple of years ago (The Executioner’s Heart) but as the others are being re-released, I had to see where it all began.
The reader is thrown into an alternative Victorian London, where in a technical revolution; industry and everyday life are transformed by the use of bizarre inventions and automated machinery.
Sir Maurice Newbury is both a gentleman academic and also an agent for the ailing Queen, and with the help of his new assistant, the brave Miss Veronica Hobbes, he sets forth to investigate a spate of horrific murders.
It seems like all the action is thrown in from the start, with zombie like creatures spreading a terrible plague, automatons going rogue and the strange case of murderous glowing policemen. It sounds crazy but all these elements are cleverly crafted into an exciting thriller you won’t want to put down.
Newbury is a Sherlock Holmes type character with a leaning towards the occult. Hobbes is clever and determined and even though the conventions of the time are sometimes against her, she is still an integral part of any investigation and I really like her as the female lead. Even with her introduction to the job, it’s like her and Newbury were always meant to be a team. Every other character is well illustrated with heroes, villains and the few you’re not too sure about, just to keep it interesting!
Steampunk is one of those themes that really has endless possibilities and I enjoyed the automaton imagery greatly in this storyline, as well as all the other machines and gadgets that crop up in the story. Mann doesn’t hold back with violence and crime scene descriptions but not to the point where it becomes disgusting. There is some light heartedness which is also balanced out by a much darker side which really adds to the whole book.
Being the first in the series, there are many storylines set up for future books so you really get hooked from the start, although I think you could read any of the Newbury & Hobbes tales as standalone and still enjoy them. I’ve probably written it before but I’m definitely a George Mann fan, and unlikely to ever criticise his books apart from to request more of them! This is a great book either individually or as part of the set, that will have crime, history and fantasy readers all crying out for more!