Review of THE AFFINITY BRIDGE by George Mann
A NEWBURY & HOBBES INVESTIGATION
Tor, July 2009
Sir Maurice Newberry is already deep in an investigation of a series of murders committed, supposedly, by a glowing ghostly policeman when he is summoned to Queen Victoria. Victoria is concerned about an airship crash involving a young Dutch royal. Meanwhile his secretary's brother has vanished and his secretary is concerned that he fell prey to the zombies plaguing London. Together with his assistant, Veronica Hobbes, Newberry goes to work, investigating the airships while keeping his thumb to the pulse of the serial murder investigation.
The airship investigation is complicated by the disappearance of the pilot--in this case a mechanical man. The airship manufacturers definitely seem suspicious, but it's hard to see what they'd gain by destroying one of their own ships. Meanwhile, Newberry battles his addictions and suffers an amazing series of injuries.
Author George Mann creates an intriguing steam-punk London with Queen Victoria kept alive through a series of valves and machines, airships everywhere, and land-trains and steam carriages battling with horse-drawn cabs for control of the road. Mann also plants the seeds for a paranormal element, with Newberry being an expert on the occult, but doesn't really follow up on this.
THE AFFINITY BRIDGE held my interest, but its pacing was uneven (zagging between slow and frantic), Newberry's ability to function in the presence of so many injuries more than incredible, and the coincidence of all of the mysteries somehow pulling together just a little farfetched. BRIDGE isn't bad, but it felt like it should have been a lot better.
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