TITLE: THE AFFINITY BRIDGE
AUTHOR: GEORGE MANN
Details: no. 1 Newbury & Hobbes Investigations
This is a very hard book to categorize. Part historical mystery, part fantasy and part horror story, this book doesn't easily fit into any of the genres as known to me. It is however totally engaging and fascinating.
The story is set in 1901 in a version of Victorian London that closely resembles the one we know from the history books, but differs from it in a few quite essential details. In this version technology has developed a lot further. We find mechanical carriages and ground trains travelling through London and airships in the air providing transport to anywhere in the world. We also find clockwork automatons, programmed to do lots of different menial tasks.
But it's not all goodness in this world; there is a ghostly glowing policeman killing apparently random victims and a plague haunts Whitechapel, turning people into mindless zombies and killing machines.
In this world operates Sir Maurice Newbury, gentleman investigator for Queen Victoria, assisted by Veronica Hobbes who has recently started working for him.
When an airship crashes from the sky, killing everyone inside, the Queen instructs Newbury to investigate. At the same time he's trying to assist his friend Charles Bainbridge, Chief Inspector with Scotland Yard with the apparently motiveless murders being committed by a glowing policeman.
Newbury, Hobbes and Bainbridge will find themselves facing all sorts of horrors and life threatening situations before all cases are solved.
And just when you thought the story had surrendered all its secrets, there is one more surprise awaiting the reader.
This was a wonderful read and I hope to get stuck into the next one soon.