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The Affinity Bridge Hardcover – 1 Jul 2008


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Snowbooks; Limited Ed edition (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905005938
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905005932
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,803,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 24 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Clockwork and steam 13 April 2010
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
written by automatons 13 May 2010
By Paul Mcguire - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading "The Affinity Bridge" by George Mann and can honestly say that it was as painful an experience as being operated on without anesthetic in a Victorian hospital.

The story is a blatant rip off of already tired cliches in multiple genres, from the sub Sherlock Holmes character of Sir Maurice Newbury (who is addicted to laudanam as oppose to cocaine) to his demure but sexy tough new assistant Veronica Hobbes (think the Avengers) and basically every other characterization and plot development that seems to have wandered in from any well known sci fi or horror movie (Dr. Frankenstein, The Terminator, the zombies of 28 Days later etc).

Sometimes the story telling has to throw up such laughable plot devices as to be jaw droppingly terrible:

After fighting off rampaging "revenants" (plague ridden, flesh eating zombies) but bleeding profusely from several bites, Newbury informs his companions, who already think that he is done for due to the zombie bites, that everything's OK because he happened to have been bitten in India when he was a young man but survived the onset of the plague because he was immune...

When fighting an attack by the brass automatons (bad Dr. Who issue cybermen meet the Terminator) he just happens to be trapped in a corner where there's a massive axe and a ball and chain on the wall which both come in very handy thank you very much...

The book has a feel of being created by a computer program and you long for a more mature style with narrative depth and believable characters that is written by an author with new ideas or at least far more subtle and evolved re-imaginings.

Please spend your time reading any of the following books before succumbing to this one's dumbed down incredulities...

The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters (Gordon Dahlquist)
Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange (Susanna Clarke)
The Manual of Detection (Jedidiah Berry)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, but lacking a certain something... 10 Oct 2010
By Cheryl A. Lightfoot - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The plot of the sci-fi mystery 'The Affinity Bridge" is exciting enough, and the book is jam-packed with action scenes straight out of a Hollywood movie, but there is at least one ingredient missing from the dish: heart. Be it humor, charm, emotional resonance - this book is sorely lacking in it. The two lead characters go about their grim business without a moment of levity, warmth or personal connection. This book put me in mind of another author of weird mysteries, Christopher Fowler. Though his Bryant & May books are set (mostly) in the present day, they also involve a team of investigators looking into the seemingly supernatural. His books are replete with funny lines, cracking characterizations, and deep emotion, and are my favorite mystery series right now.

I really wanted to love this book, but it just didn't engage me the way I wanted. I will give the next title in the series a chance, but if I don't see any improvement I probably won't continue.
If H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle somehow worked out the science and had a son it would probably have been George Mann 6 July 2009
By The Mad Hatter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
George Mann's The Affinity Bridge was another book eagerly picked up at Book Expo, although it had been on my list to buy. I find the US and the UK covers brilliantly detailed and beautifully illustrated. You have to take a look at it up close to appreciate all the little embellishments on both. My copy is signed by Mann with:
Watch out--there's evil things lurking in the fog!-George Mann

It certainly lived up to those sentiments as a zombie plague is running rampant in London, but that is a bit of a fake-out as the zombies or Revenants as Mann likes to call them is more of a B story line at best. I've long been a fan of steampunk and The Affinity Bridge brings the steam in spades. If H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle somehow worked out the science and had a son it would probably have been George Mann. There are clockwork automatons, airships, ghosts, mad scientists, and spades of other things in this entirely strange Victorian setting Mann has concocted.

The Affinity Bridge is very much an homage to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes style while still very approachable for modern tastes. The main characters start off very stuffy, but as the work progresses I found many layers yet to be revealed. Newbury has demons that I was yearning for Mann to set free, but alas he is holding out on us. I thought his female assistant Hobbes was a bit one dimensional until something that happened at the very end, which made me question her purpose and skills. Newbury is investigating a series of mysterious murders when he is called away by Queen Victoria to look into an airship crash. The Queen is being kept alive by means of technology, which was intriguing. The dialogue flows well and there is plenty of good action as Newbury battles Revenants, Automatons, and even a few other things. However, some of the solutions to the mysteries do present themselves to Newbury a bit too easily on more than one occasion, but his body does pay the cost for that ease time and time again. I also worked out the big connections fairly early on, but it didn't ruin the experience at all.

The Affinity Bridge is sheer fun and will keep you pushing forward to see how the investigative team of Charles Newbury and Victoria Hobbes solves the mysteries. I give The Affinity Bridge 7.25 out of 10 Hats. The series is expected to be at least 6 books long so it makes me wonder if Mann has an over arcing theme in mind for the rest of the series or if it will merely be more episodic. And just who will be his Moriarty? There were shades of massive intrigue towards the end involving Hobbes that could open this world wide. I'll definitely be checking out future volumes. Sometime next year Mann will release Ghost of Manhattan in the UK as well, which judging by the description is set in the same world as The Affinity Bridge, but not with the main characters from the series. [EDIT]New info thanks to Lou Anders @ Pyr: Ghosts of Manhattan will be released in the US April 2010 by Pyr.
...a delightful "steampunk" romp through Victorian London 7 Dec 2014
By JT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are four books (so far) in the Newberry/Hobbes investigation's series ("The Affinity Bridge", "The Osiris Ritual", "The Immorality Engine" and "The Executioner's Heart") with a fifth one ("The Revenant Express") to be published. I read and reviewed "The Executioner's Heart" before I realized that it was the fourth book in this series. I have now finished the rest of the series (in order) and all I can add to my review of "The Executioner's Heart" is:
These steampunk "who done its" are a wonderful, delightful, entertaining, quick-read romp through Victorian London. These are "tongue-in-cheek" adventures, reminiscent of bygone movie serials, where our heroes find themselves in impossible situations--but always managing to get the bad guy and surviving to fight another day.

Mann is a good time/fun storyteller: The murder scenes are grotesque, the steampunk inventions ingenious, and the plots/sub-plots, are suspenseful with unexpected twists, turns and surprises and just complex enough to keep you guessing. The characters are captivating and engaging:
You'll "boo" the bad guys and "root" for the "good guys". I was also
charmed by Mann's depiction of the Victorian era with its prim & proper attitudes and behaviors; it's a nice change of pace to read stories sans sex and profanity.

This series is a fast and easy read. I finished the first four books in no time at all and anxiously waiting for the fifth.
I hope Mann has many more coming, for there's so much more to tell about Newberry, Hobbes, Amelia, Bainbridge and of course Queen Victoria.
5 Stars.
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