The Affinity Bridge (2008) - George Mann

Pyan

Noli me turbare...
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Cracking cover, good reviews...what about the story?

Advertised as a spoof Sherlock Holmes/Steampunk crossover, and set in 1905 London, it postulates a timeline where airships are a flourishing mode of transport, a new industrial revolution based on steam is underway, and Queen Victoria is still alive, but kept so by extreme measures.
A plague is stalking the capital, a series of murders is baffling the police, and clockwork automotons are being introduced to control some machines.

Our hero and his female assistant, Agents of Her Majesty are thrown into the fray to rescue the situation....

There's nothing wrong with the plot, except that it tends to lose its way a bit in the middle of the book, and the main characters could be quite engaging, with a bit of refinement, but the writing...well, it's in serious need of a good editor. Mr Mann seems to have swallowed the synonyms dictionary, and uses adjectives and abverbs as if they were going out of fashion, as in:
The light in the room was blindingly, clinically sharp, and it seared the back of his retinas like a hot knife.
There are many clumsy constructions scattered through the book, such as:
...Newbury felt like he'd forgotten what it was like to live without pain.

This is the first in what looks to be an interesting series, and as the first, perhaps allowances should be made. But I was disappointed, feeling that it didn't live up to the approving testimonials on the cover, and that the writing needed a lot more work before it was accepted for publication.
 

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