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The Affinity Bridge - Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, Bk 1 Author:George Mann Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out me... more »nial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen, and journalists.
But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side.
Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system, while her agents, Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, physical and supernatural. This time Newbury and Hobbes are called to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, while attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious glowing policeman, and dealing with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital.« less
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The idea of this novel is engaging - a Victorian London developing slightly differently, with airships and steam cabs - but the execution isn't. The prose is bare bones flat, and the characters two dimensional such that I found it impossible to get interested in them or their problems. This might work better as a graphic novel, where the art could fill in for the tired prose, or a movie, where the actors could lend the characters some personality. I can't recommend this book, except to people who like zombie automaton sorts of stories. Steampunk is cool, but this book isn't a good example of it.
Tom H. reviewed The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigations, Bk 1) on
George Mann is leading the way in the steampunk genre, and Affinity Bridge establishes his universe. The book is a fast, fun read, but has a major flaw. First, the buzz over the book is that Newbury is a character in the tradition of Sherlock Holmes. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although there is a mystery to be solved, and England is troubled by murders. Hobbes and Newbury don't deduce much; they stumble onto the answers. Without giving anything away, the major crime involves mixing flesh and machinery in a creepy combination. The heroes don't ferret this out, but uncover it during an assault by the villain. If they were not attacked, the crime would never been solved. Having said that, the characters are enjoyable and the alternate universe is interesting. The chemistry between the two is good, and the twist at the end that Queen Victoria secretly manipulates their relationship is interesting. I will definitely read the rest of the series. Enjoy The Affinity Bridge but don't expect much mystery solving.