Review: ‘The Affinity Bridge’ by George Mann

By oldenglishrose - Last updated: Friday, August 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution.  Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by new inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, whilst ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen and journalists. But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side. For this is also a world where ghostly policemen haunt the fog-laden alleyways of Whitechapel, where cadavers can rise from the dead and where Sir Maurice Newbury , Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, works tirelessly to protect the Empire from her foes.  When an airship crashes in mysterious circumstances, Sir Maurice and his recently appointed assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes are called in to investigate. Meanwhile, Scotland Yard is baffled by a spate of grisly murders and a terrifying plague ravaging the slums of the city.  (Goodreads Summary)

Set in an alternative Victorian London populated with mysterious scientists, brass automatons, airships and zombies, this book was very silly but also very entertaining.

At times it seems as though Mann has a few too many subplots on the go at once and that certain aspects are being ignored for too long. However, he handles them all skilfully and eventually they become so impressively interwoven and dependent upon one another that I was willing to forgive their seemingly disparate nature because of the way they come together so spectacularly in the end.

The rapid pace of the plot admittedly didn’t allow for much character development, but in my opinion many mystery stories of this sort employ stock characters (the Butler, the Village Gossip, the Policeman with a Secret etc.) so this wasn’t particularly surprising for the peripheral characters. I have every faith that Newbury and Hobbes themselves, already made interesting through several tantalising hints, will be more fully fleshed out with each further encounter with the pair. There are a lot of Victorian English stereotypes to be found, but some were played with beautifully (I particularly enjoyed Queen Victoria herself). Besides, what situation can’t be made better by a pot of Earl Grey?

So yes, the book does suffer from some inconsistencies, the storyline is utterly improbable and the characters are a little one dimensional, but this book is still a lot of fun to read.

The Affinity Bridge by George Mann.  Published by Snowbooks, 2008, pp. 350.  Originally published in 2008.

N.B. This is an old review written in 2010 and posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing before I started keeping track of all the books I read here at Old English Rose Reads.  I’ve decided to keep copies here so that this remains a complete record of my reading since I started reviewing books for my own pleasure.

Posted in Book Review • Tags: , , , , , , , , Top Of Page

Write a comment