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A Step Forward,
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This review is from: The Osiris Ritual (Paperback)
George Mann's previous 'Newbury and Hobbes' novel, The Affinity Bridge was a curious mix of riotous entertainment and horrendous cliché, that teetered on the brink of being truly awful, yet managed to remain a book worth reading. So, it was with some apprehension that I settled down to read 'The Osiris Ritual' - which way would Mann go? Would we be treated to a robust steampunk thriller, or a latter-day penny-dreadful?
I'm pleased to report that some of the problems of the first instalment have been ironed out. Mann's characters and settings now feel like artful homage, as opposed to clumsy pastiche (though some may argue there is little difference!), and although there is still some anachronistic dialogue, the editing for book two is tighter, making for a smoother read and considerably less frustrated tutting.
Again the sleuth's adventures are exciting; this time Newbury finds himself dealing with an Egyptian curse, whilst Hobbes hunts down a mysterious magician, linked with the disappearance of a number of women. The story flows quickly, thanks mainly to Mann's fluent writing style, which is a good job, as it hides 'The Osiris Ritual's' main flaw. The plot doesn't really hold up to close scrutiny. On the face of it, the villain's motives and methods seem sound, but on reflection it's a rather half-baked scheme not befitting for the master criminal he is purported to be. There are some nice set pieces in the book, but I was left with the impression that the plot was fudged to fit around them, rather than things being developed in unison.
Despite that, 'The Osiris Ritual', like its predecessor, is so much fun, that its plot flaws are easy to forgive. If you are looking for an easy enjoyable read, and are not upset by loose plotting, then you could do a lot worse than investigating the exploits of 'Newbury and Hobbes'. They are definite Guilty Pleasure material, perfect for lightening a dreary Autumn evening.