The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation #1)

The Affinity Bridge (Newbury & Hobbes Investigation #1)

3.6 88
by George Mann

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

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

Editorial Reviews

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)

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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

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Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
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Newbury & Hobbes Series , #1
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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.

GEORGE MANN is the author of the Newbury&Hobbes Investigations, beginning with The Affinity Bridge, and other works of fiction including Ghosts of Manhattan and official Doctor Who tie-in material. He edited the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction anthology series and The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

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