The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
A Newbury & Hobbes Investigation (Book 1)
Steampunk, 334 pages
The more I read steampunk, the more I like it. Especially when the story and characters are as engaging as they are here.
This is the first book in George Mann’s Newbury & Hobbes Investigation series. As with traditional steampunk, the setting is Victorian England. Also, there are airships, zombies, brass automatons, and ground trains:
They stopped as a ground train trundled by, the huge steam engine roaring as the fireman stoked the flames, the carriages behind it bouncing along the cobbled road, their wooden wheels creaking under the strain. Newbury caught stuttering glimpses of the people inside the small carriages as they rushed by, snug inside their little booths, speeding on towards their destinations. The driver, on the other hand, was wrapped up warm against the elements, sitting atop the engine itself on a large dickey box, a huge steering wheel clasped between his gloved hands.
Beyond the science fiction however, is a well-crafted mystery. From the beginning I was enthralled. I knew immediately this was going to be an enjoyable book to read. I guessed at part of it, but when unraveled, the complete story was beyond what I’d imagined and I was thrilled to be so surprised. It’s been a long time since an author caught me off guard that way. It was wonderful!
The only part I had trouble with is how one of the sub-plots was resolved. It felt . . . awkward, as if it was loose end not discovered until too late and fixed hurriedly. Since the book opens with this particular storyline, or at least it’s main character, then I’m hoping it’s because it will be developed more in a later installment, so I shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
Still, it didn’t detract much from the overall story and how much I liked it.
This is a definite recommendation not only to those who like steampunk, but especially for introducing it to others. It is an excellent ambassador for the genre.
Now, off to read the second in the series, The Osiris Ritual.