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The Affinity Bridge [Format Kindle]

George Mann

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

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 unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while 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.

Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system, while her agents, Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, physical and supernatural. This time Newbury and Hobbes are called to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, while attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious glowing policeman, and dealing with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital.

Get ready to follow dazzling young writer George Mann to a London unlike any you've ever seen and into an adventure you will never forget, in The Affinity Bridge.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 671 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 335 pages
  • Editeur : Tor Books; Édition : Reprint (6 mai 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002HRY18G
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°695.737 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  114 commentaires
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Sherlockesque Steampunk, Successfully Fun 3 juin 2009
Par Harkius - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)

Yep, it's a pastiche. Yep, it's Sherlock Holmes with airships and zombies (astutely quoted by Eric San Juan (although no one else seems to have put it quite this eruditely)). Yep, it features a spy for the Queen who gets in fistfights with robots and zombies. Yep, it's fun.

This book has no real literary pretensions, thank god. Otherwise it would have fallen quite flat. As it is, it is intended to be a fun little story and it is. It quite nicely achieves its task: to be a light-hearted steampunk mystery. As if Sherlock Holmes was somehow blended with Indiana Jones, and then had a female assistant who was more competent than he was.

As is, this story essentially succeeds at all levels of what it is intended to be. I would give it five stars, if only it intended to be something significant, rather than an entertainment piece.

A. Plot

The plot is not deep, unexpected, or clever. But it is fun.

As others have adequately pointed out, the story is, essentially, a detective story (not a police procedural! there are six or seven seconds, in the entirety of the book, where this is accurate) focused on a mysterious plague (something like rabies, but causing George Romero's utopia, rather than hydrophobia) in Whitechapel, a parody of the Hindenburg crash in downtown London with the concomitant fireball and death of all aboard (except the robot captain), and a glowing policeman who may or may not be involved in the other two mysteries.

The plot moves along at a fair clip, neither moving too fast for most readers' comprehension, nor too slowly to hold their attention. As this is the grounding of the book, and its most important aspect, we are required to ask ourselves whether it is successful.

It is, mostly. The mystery is resolved a bit to quickly once everything falls into place. In the next story, in all probability, Newbury and Hobbes will encounter a more difficult mystery. It should feature their abilities a bit more clearly, and allow for some backstory, since we will already be familiar with the characters.

B. Characters

There are so many facets of the characters that are common and familiar that they almost don't need to be introduced. For example, Sir Maurice Newbury is a laudanum-addicted, formerly university trained anthropologist, who is a cross between Artemus Gordon and Indiana Jones.

Victoria Hobbes has hints of virtually every strong woman in literature, at one point or another. For example, she has a sister whose mental illness is confused with supernatural behavior (or vice versa), much like Angela Dodson in the film Constantine. She has a character that is somewhat like Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Essentially, she is a headstrong, self-assured, Victorian woman (what?).

There is the stalwart Bainbridge (likely named after William Sims Bainbridge), the token representative of Scotland Yard. Like the representatives in ACD's stories, he is not particularly bright, and can easily be perceived as a bulldog as easily as a man.

As Mark Klobas points out, the interactions between Newbury and Hobbes resemble little more than a Victorian version of Fox Moulder and Dana Sculley.

But, so? The characters are actually BETTER as they are, than if they were original. In a body of work as self-derivative and self-referential as steampunk, pastiches are not only expected, they are requisite. At least until the body of work attains a critical mass. In order for stereotypes to be broken and original characters to exist, someone has to put in the foundations so that there IS a stereotype. Mann is doing that work, and it is thankless, but enjoyable.

C. Setting

The story is set in Victorian London, sometime in the Nineteenth Century. The London we are given to imagine is . Other than the time and place (and the time is remarkably ill-defined, see below), there are few details about London that we really get. For example, we know that there are still hansom cabs, in addition to the steam-driven "Ground trains". We know that there are airships and mechanical devices of interesting provenance.

But, what of the social conditions. Whitechapel, naturally enough, is squalid and poor. But what are the socioeconomic and political conditions. As the Master of American Science Fiction (Isaac Asimov) pointed out, "Science fiction is at its best when the technological advances are grounded in the differences that they make in the humanity of the lives that they intersect with." And the lives of the humanity that they intersect with, too. But, that's my addition. Given greater attention to these conditions, even in allusive fashion, this could have surpassed its limitations and earned that fifth star.

I am simply astonished at how many people date this to the turn of the 20th century (perhaps because of A.J. Terry's nice review). I spent the entire novel, as an academic exercise, trying to determine the date that the book was set at. The closest I came to was a date range of 1842 to 1867. Certainly it seems much earlier than the dates of 1901 commonly used. (There are no mentions of Jack the Ripper in the Whitechapel portions of the book - this was a watershed moment in the late 1880's - and one would expect them to mention it if it had happened, since both incidences involve serial killings in this district.)

D. Theme

Uh, don't encounter cannibalistic zombies in the fog of London without a taser or a shotgun? There really ISN'T a theme in this. That is more a literary kind of thing. As I pointed out, this is not really a literary-kind of book.

E. Point of View

The point of view is generally told in a third-person voice of limited omniscience from Newbury's perspective. Occasionally, when he is out of commission, distracted, or absent, we get the perspective of one of the other characters. Nothing special here, but, again, that wasn't the author's intent.

F. Aesthetics

The aesthetics are good, but not great. London's mythical fog is out in full force, but it is not as interesting as the fogs in, say, "Johannes Cabal the Necromancer". The city is detailed, but not significantly so. The author seems to desire to ground his story in a few characters and a rapid plot, not the atmospherics of the Victorian thriller (such as Bram's classic).


A nice little story, this one lacks pretensions that it fails to live up to. The author's seeming intent was to write a story that is fun and entertaining. He succeeded in this task, although not wildly. A book worth reading, if you are only looking for something to divert, particularly if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or Victorian London. Some of the characters are a bit flat, and the setting could use some work, but the story is interesting and has its unconventional notions. Avoid this if you are looking for something literary or character driven, though. I expect that there will be a similar sequel, which may be even better, and that the Newbury and Hobbes books will extend to four or five adventures, possibly even further, given proper exposure.


32 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Good Story Poorly Written 12 juin 2009
Par J. W. Kennedy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
The year is 1901 (which history tells us was the last year of Queen Victoria's reign.) London is teeming with all the elements of awesomeness: A spectral glowing policeman is strangling people in Whitechapel. Steam-powered cabs and trolleys ply the sooty streets of the Metropolis. Hydrogen-filled airships cruise ponderously through the sky. The Queen is a steam-powered cyborg, kept alive by the Royal Surgeon's scientific genius. Brass automatons with clockwork brains perform menial tasks in the homes and offices of the wealthy. And ... Ravenous flesh-eating zombies lurk in London's thick fog, waiting to devour any unfortunate souls whom they may happen upon!

In this revised version of Late-Victorian London, Sir Maurice Newbury and his "delectable assistant" Veronica Hobbes venture forth from their office at the British Museum as special agents of the Crown, investigating the "glowing policeman" murders as well as the unexplained wreck of an airship.

The ideas in this book are fascinating, the story is solid & simple, the action scenes are taut, visceral, exciting ... but ... I was momentarily dismayed by a double Deus ex Machina in chapter 19, in which two _terribly convenient_ details are suddenly introduced in a rather arbitrary way. This misstep was relieved by excellent action and suspense later, and a very intriguing epilogue.

That's the good. Now the bad:

The writing style is simply awful. The blurb on the back of the book says that George Mann is the "head of a major British publishing imprint" but I say there's no way this guy is British. This book reads like it was written by an American trying (not very hard) to seem British. I suppose if Mr. Mann is the Big Boss at TOR, that might explain how his manuscript made it to press with no significant editorial review. This book needs some serious work done to it. The text is clumsy, the wording is awkward, and it is so full of cliche expressions that, by the time I was 20 pages in I was starting to count them, and by 40 pages I gave up, overwhelmed by the sheer number of lame chestnuts. The worst of it is that they were often used in such close juxtaposition to each other, or in such odd contexts that the actual sense of them was lost, and strange, irrelevant, unintentionally comical images sprang into the mind of the reader. If counting cliches had been a drinking game, I would have been completely PLASTERED before page 50. The relentless barrage of these over-used idioms distracted from the story and totally ruined the Victorian atmosphere. I'm pretty sure that at least 40 percent of them were modernisms, and many were Americanisms. I've read quite a bit of Victorian fiction (including the complete Sherlock Holmes) and Mr. Mann's dialogue is chock-full of things which I don't believe any Victorian Englishman would say.

The writing style was the main detriment to the atmosphere, but the book also shows a lack of research. I wasn't convinced by the setting; details were very vague, and I didn't get the impression that the author was at all familiar with London. All of his effort must have gone into creating the plot, leaving no time for historical research. Neither the style nor the setting come across as genuinely Victorian. I was extremely disappointed in this regard.

However, crippled as it is by incongruously modern language and acting, the story is interesting and original. Not everyone is as picky as I am .. If you don't care a bit about the technical _craft_ of writing, you can find plenty to enjoy in this fast-paced novel. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
20 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A pedestrian pastiche of a steampunk mystery 31 mai 2009
Par MarkK - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Fog-enshrouded Victorian London is hardly a safe city in this steampunk thriller. A "revenant plague" runs rampant through the East End, turning the infected into decaying cannibals. A mysterious glowing policeman is strangling people to death. And an airship carrying fifty passengers crashes, yet the clockwork automaton piloting it has vanished without a trace. To solve these crimes Scotland Yard turns to Sir Maurice Newberry, anthropologist turned Crown investigator. With the aid of his assistant Veronica Hobbes he apples his intellect (and the occasional fist) towards untangling these mysteries and defeating the Empire's enemies.

George Mann's novel is a mystery that evokes the atmospherics of a familiar setting refreshed by its steampunk elements. Yet the book is hampered by pedestrian writing that turns it into little more than a pastiche of familiar elements. The plot itself is primarily a rush of events, with character development implied rather than undertaken. The main protagonist comes across as a pale imitation of Sherlock Homes (must every Victorian detective be a drug addict?), while his relationship with his assistant seems to be little more than a Victorian derivative of the Mulder-Scully dynamic. It all makes for a book that, while an entertaining read, is not one that has much to distinguish it beyond the many other works in the field.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Nice Victorian London setting but not always convincing 10 décembre 2009
Par booksforabuck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Sir Maurice Newberry is already deep in an investigation of a series of murders committed, supposedly, by a glowing ghostly policeman when he is summoned to Queen Victoria. Victoria is concerned about an airship crash involving a young Dutch royal. Meanwhile his secretary's brother has vanished and his secretary is concerned that he fell prey to the zombies plaguing London. Together with his assistant, Veronica Hobbes, Newberry goes to work, investigating the airships while keeping his thumb to the pulse of the serial murder investigation.

The airship investigation is complicated by the disappearance of the pilot--in this case a mechanical man. The airship manufacturers definitely seem suspicious, but it's hard to see what they'd gain by destroying one of their own ships. Meanwhile, Newberry battles his addictions and suffers an amazing series of injuries.

Author George Mann creates an intriguing steam-punk London with Queen Victoria kept alive through a series of valves and machines, airships everywhere, and land-trains and steam carriages battling with horse-drawn cabs for control of the road. Mann also plants the seeds for a paranormal element, with Newberry being an expert on the occult, but doesn't really follow up on this.

THE AFFINITY BRIDGE held my interest, but its pacing was uneven (zagging between slow and frantic), Newberry's ability to function in the presence of so many injuries more than incredible, and the coincidence of all of the mysteries somehow pulling together just a little farfetched. BRIDGE isn't bad, but it felt like it should have been a lot better.
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Clockwork and steam 13 avril 2010
Par EA Solinas - Publié sur Amazon.com
It's a pretty brilliant idea for a novel -- an special agent of Queen Victoria, sent out to deal with weird and supernatural threats.

And the concept fits in seamlessly in George Mann's first novel "The Affinity Bridge," which reads like Arthur Conan Doyle decided to write a thriller set in a steampunk fantasy world. It's an engaging story written in a slow-moving but detailed style, and Mann keeps things interesting by peppering his story with all sorts of strange twists -- airships, clockwork robots, and zombie plagues. The only flaw is the underwritten leads.

While investigating a string of strangulations in the Whitechapel area, Sir Maurice Newbury is called away by the ailing Queen Victoria -- an airship has crashed in Finsbury Park.

With the help with his assistant Veronica Hobbes, Newbury soon discovers that the airship may have crashed and burned because it was being piloted by an automaton -- a clockwork robot that is mysteriously absent from the wreckage. They start investigating the manufacturers of both the automaton and the airship, Chapman and Villiers, but haven't got much more than a bad vibe from Chapman and a creepy history from Villiers.

Unfortunately the two cases -- strangulation and airship -- intertwine when a potential informant is strangled in Whitechapel. Newbury and Hobbes investigate further, but Whitechapel is full of more dangers than just the strangler, since there are also zombielike flesh-eating plague victims wandering around the place. And when a badly wounded Newbury is attacked by a pair of lethal automatons, he discovers the horrifying facts behind their creation.

Steam-powered carriages, clockwork robots, airships and the occasional mad scientist with a giant sewing machine -- while the Victorian London of "Affinity Bridge" isn't radically different from our own, George Mann adds all sorts of weird little details into his story. And those steampunkian items aren't just surface flash to make the whole book cooler and more fantastical -- the complex, winding mystery hinges on some of these fictional inventions.

To match his story, Mann also writes in a sort of modern-Victorian style -- richly detailed, atmospheric and full of mannered interactions. But he also spins up some fast-paced, bloody action scenes and grotesque fights (particularly with the "zombies" and automatons), as well as a climactic chase through the airshipyards. The secret of why the automatons are malfunctioning is a shocker, and Mann evokes just the right amount of horror from it.

And as a mystery writer, Mann does an excellent job winding together different mysteries in a plausible manner, even if the bad guy's identity is quite clear early on in the book (though not necessarily the how and why). And there are substantial plot threads left hanging -- especially in the epilogue -- hinting at future stories.

The biggest problem is the characterizations, which never feel entirely fleshed out -- okay, Maurice is a Holmesian genius with a weakness for laudanum and a rather murky history that seems to be made up as it goes along. Hobbes is a smart, capable woman who can do her own investigations. Although they are fairly likable characters, neither one is really expanded beyond their basic outlines -- especially since we hear hardly anything about their daily lives, their pasts, their families, et cetera.

"The Affinity Bridge" suffers from underwritten lead characters, but has a solid mystery plot and a richly-imagined steampunk world. If he can flesh them out a little, the next Newbury and Hobbes book is sure to be a pure delight.
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