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The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Inverstigation #1)

The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Inverstigation #1)

3.6 90
by George Mann

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A massively entertaining steampunk detective tale from a preeminent force in British publishing


A massively entertaining steampunk detective tale from a preeminent force in British publishing

Editorial Reviews

This British sci-fi tale invites you to visit a Victorian London that would baffle and astonish Sherlock Holmes. In this Jules Verne–worthy realm, Queen's agent Sir Maurice Newbury and his fetching assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, are charged with thwarting miscreants who use science and the supernatural to achieve their ends. In The Affinity Bridge, Newbury and Hobbes must confront mysteries involving a crashed airship, a missing automaton pilot, a glowing serial killer, and a zombie plague. All in a day's work in this entertaining steampunk detective novel.
Publishers Weekly

SF editor Mann (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction) sets this leisurely mystery, published in the U.K. by Snowbooks in 2008, in an alternate 1901 London where steam-powered taxicabs fill the streets and brass automatons have begun to replace human labor. Sir Maurice Newbury, British Museum anthropologist and occult connoisseur, and his Watsonesque assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, are summoned to investigate the crash of a cyborg-piloted helium zeppelin. Meanwhile, a plague is spreading through London's poorer quarters, turning everyday citizens into bloodthirsty, zombielike "revenants" and threatening the stability of the Empire. Mann's stiff-upper-lipped Victorians chat at great length over cups of Earl Grey and occasionally whack zombies and robots in arduous action passages, and the unnecessary details and painfully stilted dialogue bring nothing fresh to the steampunk subgenre. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In this intriguingly bizarre version of 1901 London, Sir Maurice Newbury, ostensibly an academic, is a trusted agent of the Crown. The ailing Victoria charges him and his assistant, Veronica Hobbes, with discovering the cause of an airship crash, which may be linked to innovative automata now acting as servants all over London. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard is dealing with numerous strangulations perpetrated by a glowing policeman and an outbreak of a "revenant plague" that turns people into mindless, murderous zombies. Readers should not be put off by the introduction of several apparently unrelated investigative threads; Mann brings them together and ratchets up the action as the story progresses. VERDICT Although the imagery is occasionally repetitive and some loose ends are tied up rather abruptly, overall, this series launch by the editor of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction is a strong addition to the "steampunk" subgenre and one that creates a lively alternative world.—Sara M. Schepis, East Fishkill Community Lib., Hopewell Jct., NY

—Sara M. Schepis
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—In this steampunk mystery, Sir Maurice Newbury maintains an office at the British Museum but actually works in a secret capacity for Queen Victoria, who is still alive, in late 1901, by means of an elaborate mechanical life-support system. Veronica Hobbes arrives to become Sir Maurice's assistant, and together the two investigate a series of incidents: a missing man, a crashed airship, automatons gone berserk, a string of murders apparently committed by a blue-glowing policeman, and a plague that is turning residents of London's Whitechapel into revenants (zombies). Mann may be trying to do a little too much here, but both Newbury and Hobbes are engaging characters and the world-building is done well. The last third of the novel is nonstop action, including a classic train-top chase scene. The author introduces some elements that are obviously intended to carry over into future books, and the epilogue reveals new information and clearly sets up the next episode. Fast-paced and well-written, this novel is likely to appeal to genre fans.—Sarah Flowers, formerly at Santa Clara County Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Steampunk series opener and first U.S. appearance for this U.K.-based writer and editor of various anthologies. In 1901, Sir Maurice Newbury, a British Museum researcher otherwise employed as an agent of Queen Victoria, investigates such supernatural oddities as the rash of mysterious strangulations in and around Whitechapel, attributed by witnesses to a weirdly blue-glowing policeman. But then Victoria, kept alive only by various steam-powered life-support devices, personally assigns him to look into a ghastly airship crash. With his young, smart, feminist assistant, Veronica Hobbes, and old friend Chief Inspector Sir Charles Bainbridge of Scotland Yard, Newbury inspects the site of the crash, a vast, odoriferous pile of twisted metal, burned rubber and charred corpses. Oddities swiftly emerge. The passengers were tied into their seats (this may or may not have something to do with the plague currently ravaging the Empire that turns its victims into cannibal zombies). The pilot, a highly advanced brass robot guaranteed infallible by its manufacturers, is missing from the wreckage. Unfortunately, at this point, Sherlock Holmes pastiche threatens to take over, what with Newbury's Holmesian weakness for drugs and Bainbridge's Lestrade-like ineffectuality. Seething melodrama set against a vividly imagined backdrop; what's missing is a thematic center.
From the Publisher

“Steampunk is making a comeback, and with this novel Mann is leading the charge….An engaging melodrama that rattles along at a breakneck pace.” —The Guardian

“Mann is at the forefront of the new generation of UK movers and shakers.Tremendous fun. Mann writes great chase scenes! [The Affinity Bridge] marks George Mann as a writer of enormous promise.”SFRevu

“Excellent world building; captures the Sherlock Holmes feel; never a boring passage.A hugely entertaining book.” —SFSignal

“An enormous pile of awesome.” —Chris Roberson, World Fantasy Award Finalist and Sideways Award Winner

Product Details

Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date:
Newbury & Hobbes Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.17(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

GEORGE MANN heads the editorial and production teams of two divisions of the UK-based Games Workshop: Solaris Books, a SF/Fantasy publisher, and Black Library, a publisher of game-related fiction. He is the editor of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction anthology series and the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books, including The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, The Human Abstract, and Time Hunter: The Severed Man.

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The Affinity Bridge 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 90 reviews.
Madame_Lovey-Dovey More than 1 year ago
I wasn't fanatic about The Affinity Bridge though I was thoroughly interested in it at the same time. It was a change from the books I have been reading (my recently read books I either couldn't get enough of or disliked with a passion). This one was in the middle. Still I recommend it too fans of mystery and steampunk genres. I guess the main reson why I wasn't too thrilled with it was(and I feel horrible saying this mind you) because it had minimal amounts of romance. I can tell George Mann was trying to ease into the relationship of the two main characters (but to me it was torture!) and I respect that especially since your average romance novel usually rushes the romance between the lovers to where it's unrealistic (I really do hate that part of being a fan of romance). All in all, The Affinity Bridge was an awesome book (with it's zombies and electrical walking canes...) to read and I enjoyed it very much. I am also very excited for the sequal The Osiris Ritual.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seemed like a tweener book for British kids. I am neither. In spite of having enough plot elements to make a thrilling read, I put the ebook down again and again, even toward the end of the book. I will not criticize the author, I could do no better, and a critic risks nothing. He does write in a fashion that is easy to visulaize in the mind's eye.
Jim7440 More than 1 year ago
Affinity Bridge is a Steampunk crime Mystery set in London in the Victorian era. The author paints the setting well and we can actually feel the choking London fog of times gone by, but are further intrigued by elements of the story that are able to cloak themselves within the thick, dark atmosphere. The writing is good and fast paced so that our interest is held throughout the story. I don't want to give away the plot points of the story, but will say that it's imaginative, engaging, and inspires me to want to read the next book in the series, The Osiris Ritual. This is the sort of story that makes Steampunk interesting as a genre. I would have liked to get more of a feel for what it's like to travel on an airship, but perhaps that will come in one of the further stories.
Dawson59 More than 1 year ago
3.50 Stars Lack Depth What a wonderful tale centered in jolly old England, or is it jolly. The plague is feverently running through the slums of Whitechapel. Mysterious and unexplained murders are stumping Scotland Yard. To add to the mayhem, The Lady Armitage (a passenger derigible) has crashed in Finstead Park adding to the woes of the current investigative team of Veronica Hobbes, Sir Maurice Newbury and Inspector Charles Bainbridge. The Crown has summoned Sir Newbury to give his best effort to quickly uncover the airships demise as there could be a connection to the Royal Dutch Throne. How's that for a plot? Very enticing. The pros. This is a well laid out story. The scenes and descriptions are dead-on and will have the reader engulfed with the daily deluge of fog and rain in London. Keep a good cup of tea or coffee available to keep the chill off. You will find yourself immersed in the manufactory of the airships as our trio's clues lead them into the impressive, yet sinister company of Chapman and Villiers. The plot thickens as Professor Villiers introduces them to the intricacies of modern technology—The automatom's. Sir Newbury is overtaken by the new machines as they are fully functioning robots capable of performing the most intricate human endeavors. Yet, despite his fascination with the advances in science, he feels there is more than meets the eyes. Something is askew. Is there a connection between the downing of The Lady Armitage, the automatoms, and the murders of Whitechapel, or do they stand on their own? You'll have to get a copy for those answers. The cons. As in the last work, The Ghosts of Manhattan, the action scenes reminded me of a James Bond thriller. The injuries our hero, Sir Maurice Newbury has sustained would have him completely incapacitated to efficiently engage his assailants. A bit too far-fetched at times. The end of the work took up a little too much space as the reader is introduced to more hidden sub-plots. Overall, this is an excellent work the Steampunk followers will gobble-up in a heartbeat.
Sean_From_OHIO More than 1 year ago
The Affinity Bridge had all the potential in the world but when it was all said and done it didn’t amount to much. The world created by George Mann is an interesting one, his characters not so much. Each one was a cliché with little imagination and the mystery involved here left little doubt. Overall this book was a fine attempt but not worth the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Though a little less engaging than it's sequel, The Osiris Ritual, The Affinity Bridge is an absolutely fantastic story which in many ways catered perfectly to my notion of Steampunk London. Sir Maurice Newbury is the Sherlock Holmes of steampunk, with a wonderful personality that is, nevertheless realistic; Newbury has faults. The relationship between he and Miss Veronica Hobbes, his "assistant," (she is only so in that Newbury hired her; in every other way she is his equal) is endearing, and is possibly the first ever instance of a romance as a major factor in a steampunk novel. The book starts out a little slow, but speeds up drastically after about the fifth chapter as the plot thickens and the mystery becomes more and more engaging. Mann's writing style can sometimes be a little sloppy, but he is the first author I've seen to successfully create and describe in print format an action scene which would usually be better suited for a movie. I understand that this is said all the time, but I truly was unable to put this book down!
Twisted_Helix More than 1 year ago
though not a great one. The plot reminds me a little of Gordon Dahlquist's Glass Books of the Dreameaters, although the plot of The Affinity Bridge is decidedly less strange. Here we have a feisty heroine and a flawed hero, AND (if that weren't enough), a solid sidekick. It's a little bit Sherlock Holmes and a little bit Amelia Peabody. Nonetheless, The Affinity Bridge is an easy, escapist, page turner; I finished it in seven hours, by the clock--and I am very much your average reader. It is promising, but it doesn't quite live up to it's promise. I found the characters a bit shallow and the dialog incongrous: highly purple Victoriana, coupled with modern colloqualisms. I think I understand what Mann was going for; the plot is steam-punkish. However, culture changes much slower than technology--as we witness everyday--and Mann doesn't really sell me that the language will have changed that much. Nor do I buy the other characters' easy acceptance of Veronica as a professional woman/buttkicker. Oh, that it were that easy: give us cars, airships, and robots, and we will give you universal human rights, just like that. But, that's not how it works, clearly. If you are going to do something like that, you've got to make it make sense in your world. Mann didn't. Yet, the plot's okay. The ending is neither surprising, nor is it unsurprising. The plot point having to do with Jack seems an afterthought more than anything and would probably have been best left out; it's a distraction. The whole book seems clearly a set-up for another novel with the same characters, and so it left me a little unsatisfied with this novel. Bottom line: If you like the steampunk genre or mysteries, it's worth a read, but it's not going to make you think. Then again, not everything has to.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1901 London, automatons have taken over most of the manual labor replacing humans. In that environs British Museum anthropologist Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes investigate the crash of a zeppelin piloted by a cyborg in which pilot error is statistically impossible yet in this case somehow appears plausible. -------------- At the same time, a plague is spreading throughout the city's poorest sectors turning people into zombies. These revenants pose a major threat of destroying the British Empire from within. An expert on the occult, Maurice with Veronica's able help connects the two incidents in between Earl Grey time.-------------------- THE AFFINITY BRIDGE is an odd alternate earth historical thriller that combines elements of horror, science fiction and mystery in a London at the start of the twentieth century filled with robot and zombies; yet in some ways sort of remains the same as our earth as there is always time for a bit of tea. That combination adds some realism to the story line, but tea for two is fun for the participants however can be tedious to the reader. Still filled with plenty of blood, the occult and automatons, George Mann provides his audience with overall an enjoyable tale of a London out of control except for the tea time outs that seem mindful of Holmes-Watson.------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous 10 months ago
If you love Sherlock Holmes and steam punk this is the perfect combination of the two.
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This book is serieously for 15+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great steam punk book, full of Air Ships, and automata, with an element of horror throw in. This book is highly recommended.
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A great, fast moving steam punk adventure. Both the plot and the characters were well developed.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspend disbelief. Good alternative reality read. Tedious in places but a good steam punk read over all.
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