The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Veronica Hobbes investigate an airship crash in Victorian London. Why were all the victims lashed to their seats? Where was the pilot? And why is the Queen so intent on Newbury and Hobbes finding out what happened? The trail leads them to the airship manufacturers who also happen to make automatons. Can Newbury and Hobbes solve the mystery before the mysterious glowing policeman takes them?
The Affinity Bridge is a fast-moving steampunk mystery. Once it gets going, it's definitely a page turner. The action feels very much like a movie. Sir Maurice Newbury is a combination of James Bond and Sherlock Holmes, complete with laudanum addiction, and Hobbes is like a Victorian Emma Peel. The setting was probably my favorite part of the book. A London with airships, automatons, Queen Victoria kept alive by machines, a zombie plague in the slums, what's not to like?
So why did I only give it a 3? The characters are a little on the thin side. In fact, I was ready to blast this book in one of the early chapters. Newbury, although supposedly a great detective, misses some really obvious things only to have Hobbes suggest them. Not very Sherlockian if you ask me.
Still, this is a quick and enjoyable read. It's not the best steampunk book ever written by any means but it's fun and fairly accessible. It's actually a little light on the steampunk side. I'd recommend it to fans of steampunk in general, as well of those of The Domino Men and The Somnambulist.
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