The Affinity Bridge

The Affinity Bridge

By George Mann

Tor Paperback/334 pages

$13.99

ISBN: 9780765323224

Release Date: April 2010

In the midst of a zombie plague, a wave of strangulations takes place in the slums of Victorian London. Sir Maurice Newbury, investigator for the Crown with an expertise in the dark arts, teams up with his new assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes to solve the case. The murders are rumored committed by a blue glowing police officer. But before Newbury and Veronica can explore allegations of a supernatural killer, their attention is diverted to examining the wreckage of an airship.

At the crash site, upwards of fifty people are found burned to death, including a member of the Dutch royal family. The charred corpses are frozen in tortured positions straining to break free from their seats. To Veronica’s horror, she discovers each passenger has one foot tied to the floor. Stranger still, the automaton pilot is nowhere among the wreckage. The airship manufacturers, Chapman, a philanthropist, and Villiers, a scientific genius banished from Paris for experimenting on wastrels, claim ignorance of the reason for the crash.

While visiting the asylum, Veronica receives a cryptic message from her clairvoyant sister–“it’s all in their heads.” Later, the duo tries to fit together how the excessive murder of paupers, a crashed airship, and zombie plague are connected. The fabulous resolution of this mystery is weaved together through zombie attacks, automaton assassins, and a chase where Newbury mounts the roof of a moving ground train. If that’s not enough action for you, the climax comes in the form of an epic fight aboard an airship in imminent danger of crashing. And the surprising epilogue is a gem.

After a riveting prologue, the beginning pace lulls for a while, giving The Affinity Bridge an authentic Victorian feel as opposed to the fast pacing one might expect from a modern novel. Although the plot takes a long time to develop, this slow starter is worth the wait. The thrilling action accelerates until all the elements converge into a satisfying “aha!” moment.¬†¬†Mann achieves the tone and charm of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the depth of his characters and intricacies of his mystery. It’s Sherlock Holmes with zombies.

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