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Ghosts of Manhattan [Hardcover]

George Mann
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Paperback £6.39  

Book Description

1 Feb 2010
1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters, and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed "The Roman." However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: snowbooks (1 Feb 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906727155
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906727154
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,420,998 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Ghosts of Manhattan is a brilliant hybrid of superhero/vigilante tale, film noir, and 1920s decadence... It is an exceedingly dark character study of damaged characters attempting to make the world a better place than it has been for them. It is a portrait of a world just one step removed from our reality, a New York that never was but could have been. It is a thematic rumination on the nature of heroism, blessed with exquisite prose, twisty mystery (one revelation in particular almost made me want to start reading all over again, to note the earlier clues), genuinely thrilling suspense, and cracking violence a beautifully crafted novel whose dark heart is counterbalanced with small moments of unexpected tenderness. And dirigibles. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

George Mann is the Consultant Editor of Solaris Books, the major SF/Fantasy imprint of BL Publishing/Games Workshop. He is the editor of The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy and the author of The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (Constable Robinson), The Human Abstract (Telos), The Severed Man (Telos) and The Child of Time (Telos, with David J. Howe). His short stories have appeared or are due to appear in venues such as Black Sails, Apex Digest, Triquorum and an anthology of Doctor Who stories. He regularly attends the major science fiction and fantasy conventions in both the UK and the US. He lives near Grantham with his wife and son.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 6 July 2010
Having thouroughly enjoyed Mann's other recent series - the Newbury & Hobbes Mysteries, I was looking forward to this new book. The Newbury & Hobbes stories have been fun-filled, quirky mysteries, instilled with good banter between characters and a real sense of humour. They don't take themselves too seriously and they are fun to read. I've also enjoyed the setting in those books - a slightly alternative Victorian London.

Ghosts of Manhattan is a different kind of read. Set in a 1920's New York of mobsters, killings and crimes it follows a few main characters. Donovan: the police inspector, Gabriel: the rich playboy, Celeste: the jazz singing love interest, The Ghost: a mysterious vigilante, The Roman: a criminal mobster overlord. It's all quite cliched with all these characters behaving predictably.

The main idea that jumped out at me was 'Batman'. The set up, plot, etc puts you in mind of Gotham City and the caped crusader. This unfortunately means that the idea doesn't feel new or fresh. However, as with other George Mann books, the pace is brisk, the writing fun and it is an old fashioned type of crime thriller.

I hung in there with it, enjoying some of the scenes and atmosphere created by the setting but have to say that it took a really odd twist towards the end - a supernatural element was introduced which really didn't follow what had gone before and made for a totally bizarre ending. I also can't review this thoroughly without a mention of the total overuse of the word 'brandished' throughout!

I am quite sorry to say that I found this book disappointing because I've so enjoyed his other books. I am still looking forward to enjoying the next Newbury & Hobbes mystery though!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 9 Jun 2010
I had high hopes of this novel, since the blurb ticked all the boxes. Unfortunately it's a grave disappointment. The characters are all cardboard, there's very little depth to them and the plot - such as it is - is wafer thin. The 'steampunk' element is limited to cars that run on coal and a weapon; that's it. The alternative universe element is limited to a few references to a cold war between the UK and the US, but that's all - there's no relevance to the storyline.

The further into the book you read, the more nonsensical it becomes. There are 'moss men' who are supposed to be hugely powerful, except that they're not, and are made of moss with a steel substruction. If it sounds weird, it's because it is. In the last few chapters there's a dramatic shift from steampunk to Cthulhu, which is just plain stupid. The book that you finish isn't remotely like the book that you started.

It's a waste of time and space. One to be avoided I'm afraid - I wish that I had.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok 28 Feb 2011
Ok, but not as good as Newbury & Hobbes, and I won't be in a hurry to read any more of the series.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I hadn't read any of Mr Mann's previous work, and on the evidence of this book, I won't be reading any more.

"Homage" is significantly overstating what is quite possibly the most cliche-ridden piece of work I've ever read.

There is nothing new in this book. I mean, absolutely nothing. I am an avid reader of many books and on many subjects, and this is the most disappointing reading experience I've ever had.

Everything about character, location, or plot is something that you will have read somewhere else, on many occasions, and done better.

And "steampunk"? I'd laugh if I wasn't so offended by the notion that this tries to place itself in the genre. It diminishes it instead.

Fans of steampunk will feel short-changed to the point of having been mugged.

Characters and locations are so two-dimensional as to make you hope that there's some sort of plot point waiting to make an appearance, that somehow the author has crafted this lack of depth deliberately. But oh no, this is not so.

This is the first book that actually made me feel angry about its lack of ambition on any level.

This is the first book that I have ever had to throw in the bin, lest someone else try to read it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I read "The Affinity Bridge" after buying it on impulse and, after a coupe of false starts REALLY enjoyed it. Hence buying this on the back of it. I love it - it is smart, sassy, past-paced and has everything a good, fun adventure should have - a handsome but flawed hero, a beautiful sassy heroine and a huge dollop of steampunk laced with Cthuluesque supernaturalism. I even thought the alternative "caped crusader" was a fun touch. I can only hope this is not a "one off".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Elusive Ghost 24 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
having a hard time getting to now the lead character but it is well written and i like the storyline so far.
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