Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Airships, Automata, and Mystery

The Affinity Bridge
by George Mann
Tor, 2009.

A "glowing policeman," perhaps a ghost, kills in Whitechapel, baffling police - an airship crashes and kills all passengers, apparently with no explanation - revenants prowling the streets pass on the plague that infects them, making the foggy streets of London dangerous. Sir Maurice Newbury, in the service of Queen Victoria herself, is on these cases, tackling them with the help of his assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, and his good friend the police commissioner, Sir Charles Bainbridge.

This is my latest read in the exploration of the Steampunk genre, and I can see how its alternate technology and Victorian setting fit into the parameters. The technology is interesting, too - from airships to automata to medicinal remedies. I had trouble getting into the story at the beginning (which was more about my brain still being on the Attolia series than any fault of the book itself), but I'm glad I persevered. The pacing built well over the course of the story, until it was strumming along at the end, when I just had to keep going and find out how everything fit together. Newbury and Miss Hobbes are interesting characters, and I enjoyed their conversations and growing respect for one another. I would certainly consider reading more of their adventures.

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