Saturday, November 5, 2011

An Incredible Romp through Victorian London (Steampunk Style)

The Immorality Engine
Newbury and Hobbes Investigations
George Mann
August 2011
Tor Books

The third in George Mann's Newbury and Hobbes Investigations Steampunk series is great fun from beginning to end. Sir Maurice Newbury, Queen Victoria's agent, is continuing to sink into his opium addiction, much to the dismay of his great friend, Sir Charles Bainbridge of Scotland Yard. Still more distressed is Sir Maurice's assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes.

When the body of a suspected jewel thief turns up murdered in one of the seedier sections of London, yet robberies identical to to the corpse's earlier crimes are still happening, Sir Maurice must rise to the occasion. Bainbridge and Hobbes must literally drag him out of an opium den. To add to the mystery of the corpse, there also seems to be a threat to the life of the Queen.

The plot includes clairvoyants, clones, a wacky resurrection cult, spectacular war engines in the best Steampunk tradition, and a vision of Queen Victoria that is truly creepy. Kept alive by the machines of the the diabolical Dr. Fabian, she sits like a spider in the web of her own mad plots and deceits. Newbury and Hobbes are forced to decide whether their loyalty has been misplaced.

The Immorality Engine completes the first story arc of the series and I can hardly wait for the next installment of the Newbury and Hobbes investigations. I would, however, recommend reading The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual before diving into The Immorality Engine. While Mann does a great job of bringing us up to speed, the first two books help build the world and characters. The Newbury and Hobbes Investigations are a great blend of mystery, horror, steampunk and a little romance.

Rating- 5 Opium Pipes

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