Monday, October 6, 2014

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

 Trying to get a handle on this thing they call Steampunk. Most of it seems to run in the Victorian era, with odd technological upgrades, mixed with odd bits of the supernatural. I suppose it beats coming up with a truly new and exciting fantasy realm, just like urban fantasy, which tends to operate by weaving modernity with witches, werewolves and vampires going bump in the night. Not to be confused with Cyberpunk, which I read a lot of back in the day. Now, of course, many of those futures are coming true before our eyes.

In The Affinity Bridge, there seems to be a plague of revenants bent on murder and cannibalism in Queen Victoria's London (which is oddly coincidental as the next book on my TBR pile is called Revenant). In the midst of the plague, Crown Investigator Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Veronica Hobbes become involved in investigating a series of murders by a glowing policeman in the White Chapel area of London, and the horrific crash of an airship which killed all on board, and which has political implications.

The plot, and the solving of the mysteries, is not really all that exciting, but there are some aspects of the book that might bode well for future plots. Veronica's sister, Amelia, is a psychic who can see visions of the future, but she has been locked in an asylum where they treat her for her seizures. Queen Victoria has been kept alive beyond her natural span of years by the machines created by Dr. Fabian, and he and his assistant, The Fixer, seem to have some interesting medical treatments up their sleeves. Newbury's friend, Scotland Yard detective Charles Bainbridge, demonstrates a nifty sword cane that works like a taser, so there may be some other cool inventions from the Victorian Q Branch, as well.

Not one of those "oh my gosh, I can't wait to read the next one", but probably worth following up on when things are slow on the TBR pile.

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