Steampunk pulp-style Action-Adventure in which we are introduced to Sir Maurice Newbury, Academic authority on the Occult and the supernatural, and his assistant Veronica Hobbes, who seems to be a Charlie's Angel born 90 years early.
Also, their Alternative Victorian world - in which steam-powered transport; airships and Verne-esque advanced medical apparatus keep Queen Victoria alive (and, after a vicious attack, Newbury too). But in contrast to all this scientific advancement, there are conspiracies; Occult practices and Zombies hiding in the London fog.
This duality of modern scientific and technological progress versus old superstitions and magic from the past could be seen as the thematic undercurrent of the book (maybe the series?). The story, and to some extent Newbury, address this duality (Newbury is very interested in the supernatural, but he is also rationalist, keen to expose fraudulent clairvoyants and in awe of the modern inventions around him).
However, this isn't supposed to be a chin-strokey novel, it's more about the fistfights on top of moving steam-trams and Indiana Jones style punch ups with Zombies. There is an apt lightness of tone.
For me, the thing I found jarring was the insistence on referring to the dynamic duo as "Newbury and Veronica" i.e. the male character is defined by his surname while the female character is defined by her first name. Surely it should be "Maurice and Veronica" or (like the title of the series) "Newbury and Hobbes". Or even, if we want to be formal "Sir Maurice and Hobbes". By the way, how did a man who, if I may say so, is a rash and impulsive thirtysomething laudanum addict, get a knighthood? Can I have one?
But these are all trifles. This is a cracking, Steampunk pulp adventure.
Amazing characters believable and strong. Good plot enjoyable read. Lots of twists and turns to the plot. Couldnt put it down . Thank you for an exciting read. First time i have read a Newbury and Hobbes book it wont be my last. Really like the relationship between the two. Mutual respect .
I came across this book completely by accident - I'm so glad I did as it is a REAL find. Beautifully written characters, vividly described atmospheric descriptions and good old fashioned adventures in an alternative steam punk London. Add a twist of the weird - a dash of 30's pulp fiction and Mann serves up this find fireside rip roarer!