The Affinity Bridge by George Mann

(Pub: Snowbooks Pty Ltd, 2008)

Roger of the Raj and Biggles meet steampunk. I loved it!

Victorian London, complete with airships, steam powered coaches, plague infected revenants and…murder! What’s not to like?

Sir Maurice Newbury, anthropologist at the British Museum, is an agent for the Crown. Miss Victoria Hobbes is his able assistant. Investigating a series of mysterious murders in Whitechapel, an airship crash in Finsbury Park and the disappearance of a staff member’s relative, Newbury and Hobbes find themselves unravelling a tangled web of clues to solve their intertwined cases.

Actually, it’s not such a tangled web – I figured it out after Hobbes visited the asylum. The characters aren’t especially unique; they are not portrayed in huge depth.

None of this mattered! I still wanted to read through to the end as fast as I could. I wanted to follow our intrepid characters in their acts of extraordinary derring-do and watch / read as they figured it out themselves.

Notice I wrote “watch” – this is so well written that it is like watching a movie. The writing is skilled, atmospheric and Mann creates a believable, detailed, steampunk Victorian London. The mystery moves at a fast pace, keeping you hooked and the physical “action” really ramps up from about halfway through.

It is rip-roaring fun. Just sit back and enjoy the ride…er…read.

Four out of Five Stars.