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Pembroke “Pimm” Hanover is an aristocrat with an ...
Pembroke “Pimm” Hanover is an aristocrat with an interest in criminology, who uses his keen powers of observation to assist the police or private individualsat least when he’s sober enough to do so. Ellie Skyler, who hides her gender behind the byline “E. Skye,” is an intrepid journalist driven by both passion and necessity to uncover the truth, no matter where it hides.
When Pimm and Skye stumble onto a dark plot that links the city’s most notorious criminal overlord with the Queen’s new consort, famed scientist Sir Bertram Oswald, they soon find the forces of both high and low society arrayed against them. Can they save the city from the arcane machinations of one of history’s most monstersand uncover the shocking origin of . . . THE CONSTANTINE AFFLICTION.
Posted August 20, 2012
Offering up an interesting mix of genres (with an abrupt change of
course in the last act), The Constantine Affliction is a fun, engaging,
imaginative read that manages to succeed despite the relative blandness
of its main character. That's not to say Pimm isn't an interesting
character on his own, but he lacks the quirks and personality traits
that make the other characters leap off the page. T. Aaron Payton,
better known as T.A. Pratt, has put together a story here that is equal
parts thriller, mystery, horror, comedy, and adventure. At the heart of
it lies the aforementioned Pimm (an aristocrat who likes to play
detective - when not drowning his sorrows), the far more engaging
Winifred (his best friend turned spouse - thanks to the gender-changing
Constantinopolitan Affliction), and the rather remarkable Syke
(investigative reporter and feminist heroine - for whom the glass is
always half-full). Facing off against the unlikely trio of heroes is an
even unlikelier trio of villains in Abel Value (criminal overlord), Sir
Bertram Oswald (the Queen's consort), and Mr. Adams (cousin to
Frankenstein's monster). Throw in some clockwork courtesans and some
extra-dimensional monsters, set against the backdrop of a London under
siege from darkness and disease, and you have yourself one heck of a
tale. There is an awful lot going on here, but Payton manages to keep
it all on track, all the while building towards a pair of key
revelations that quite cleverly connect the dots between the mixed
genres. At times chilling, amusing, and altogether fascinating, this is
the kind of book where you just have to give yourself permission to
settle in and enjoy the ride. It is paced exceptionally well, so much so
that you never begrudge Payton the opportunity to explore a few bizarre
tangents - and of those there are aplenty! Perhap's Skye's intimate
investigation of the clockwork courtesans goes into a bit too much
detail, but it is fascinating, and it does help to justify some plot
elements further on. Similarly, Mr. Adam's researches into
life-after-death may be a bit too grotesque for some readers, but you'll
come away believing in the possibility for romance with a disembodied
brain. Where the story faltered a bit, for me, was in the Lovecraftian
insanity of the final act. It almost seemed as if, having so deftly
handled so many genres already, Payton simply couldn't resist the urge
to go all the way with his monstrous finale. He manages it well, and the
strength of his characters keeps it from becoming too fantastic, but it
was so far removed from what I was expecting that I struggled a bit to
keep my disbelief willingly suspended. It does give Winifred a chance to
shine, and does allow for a fitting resolution to the character of Mr.
Adams, but it also cast Pimm a bit further out of the limelight.
All-in-all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, with enough plot lines
to fill a trilogy of novels. Hopefully Payton will give us more
adventures in his alternate London, and if he can follow through on
Pimm's seeming revival at the end of the story, he may just be a
protagonist worthy of both his wife and his girlfriend.
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Posted December 23, 2012
Posted September 7, 2012