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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by unfamiliar inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, while ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen, and journalists.

But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side. Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system, while her agents, Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, physical and supernatural.

This time Newbury and Hobbes are called to investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, while attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious glowing policeman, and dealing with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital.

Get ready to follow dazzling young writer George Mann to a London unlike any you’ve ever seen and into an adventure you will never forget.

©2009 George Mann (P)2009 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Fast-paced and well-written, this novel is likely to appeal to genre fans." ( School Library Journal)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Doug
  • Flint, MI, United States
  • 06-11-10

nowhere near as bad as reviewed

The book, and the audio are nowhere near as bad as the other reviewers have indicated. Make no mistake, the story is not -- nor does it pretend to be -- great literature. It's a steampunk tale of Zombies, airships and automatons, featuring a semi-Holmes pastiche. If you like the genre, you'll probably find something to like there. It has some good passages, some areas that even excel, some that drag a bit and yes, it also has its low points (as many first efforts do). But the book is hardly worthy of the level of vitriol seen in some of the other reviews. Were the other reviewers looking for a great work of modern times? The story is what it advertises (warts and all) and as a "light listen" it is enjoyable enough for long car rides. No, Masterpiece theater-material it is not; but does it have to be?

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Really Really Really Good Listen

George Mann's "The Affinity Bridge" was a real eye-opener for me. I am new to the steampunk genre and have been looking for books to read in order to quench that need. I have started several but became so bogged down in vampires and werewolves that I just stopped reading.

This book however is beautifully written. Yes, there are a few zombies, but they do not overwhelm the story. Mann captures the feel of the Victorian era with clever descriptions and remarkable characters. Maurice Newbury is quite a character in himself, rakishly flawed, but powerful in his determination to do right by the Queen and her country.

Veronica Hobbs is a force to be reckoned with. Headstrong, loyal, and as determined as Sir Maurice, they make an awesome pair.

Fighting against several unknown entities, Newbury and Hobbs are cast into a world of near chaos. They must discover if the forces at work are those of the dark forces, one of Newbury's weaknesses, or if something far more sinister is afoot.

With plenty of action, emotion, and a few good twists, "The Affinity Bridge" is one of my favorite steampunk novels so far. I can't wait to download the next one in the series.

As for the narrator, I normally don't prefer the male voices, but Simon Taylor has quite a talent. I think his performance of the various voices was quite exceptional and I will be looking for more books narrated by him. A damn good listen!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Slow, awkward and disappointing

The summary had sold me on an Victorian steam-punk world with zombie plagues, air ships, mechanical automatons and an artificially-life-extended queen. This book technically delivers all of those things and somehow still manages to be slow, uninteresting and poorly delivered.

The main character is ultimately the least interesting man in the world leading the most interesting life. Although attempts are made to add depth, the only three-dimensional character is the female lead, Veronica Hobbes, who manages to kick ass despite living in a heavily chauvinistic and chivalrous post-Victorian society. She's probably the only thing redeeming the book, and and she doesn't do enough.

The story itself fails to live up to its promise, with rushed action scenes mingling between unbearably slow, forced deduction scenes with seemingly no connection between them and even less sense tying in the overall story, despite the numerous cases of deus ex machina struggling to pull the plot together.

Perhaps most of these flaws could be overlooked were the narrator not dull and irritating. Although his accent was acceptably British, his voices varied only in degree of gravel being gargled while growling, and all shared the same insufferable breathiness that meant the whole book felt like it was wheezed out by a terminally bored lung cancer patient.

All in all I suffered through the whole book just because I was curious how they'd try to pull a conclusion out of this soggy, cardboard mess, and because I had no more credits to buy better books.

Let me experience be a warning - this is not worth the download.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Bit Confused

There was a lot going on in this story -- murder, mayhem, zombies, an airship accident, a spunky female Victorian protagonist, a mysterious and talented main character, and a mad scientist. Maybe it was too much; there were some scenes that seemed like they should be part of another book, such as when the main character, Newbury, is in his room lying in a pentagram. It was never clear that this had anything to do with the storyline. Frankly, I found the mystery curious but the gross descriptions of zombie fights a bit over the top. I'm not into guts and gore; the story could have cut half of the fight scenes. And really, what is it with zombies? Are they just thrown in for comic relief in all books these days?

This book shows promise of good character development for subsequent stories, but the plots need no extraneous elements -- and that includes slavering zombies. I want more of the Victorian/steampunk elements and less monsters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The narrator makes the audiobook

I've never heard of, or a reading by, Simon Taylor before, but I'll be avoiding him for a few years. Maybe I just don't like his style and he's a perfectly fine reader, whatever it is, I had to let this book go.
He sounds almost amateurish in spots, and has a tendency to linger on a word as if for dramatic emphasis, but it seems unwarranted. He also has an unfortunate tendency to over pronounce the 'ng' on words like long, so it sounds like long-geh. Once you notice it, it becomes annoying.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Pitman, NJ, United States
  • 07-24-11

Great Reader, Ameteur Writer and Horable Editer

Judging by the reviews this book is enjoyed by some and hated by others.
However, even the positive reviews, justify it on the basis that it is a first book. {Which it is NOT}.
In my opinion the reader was excellent! He had a great British accent, and did different voices for every character; unfortunately the material he had to work with was not expressive enough to fit his style of narration.
The story itself is a jumble of cliché’s crammed together into a mystery/occult/steampunk novel. But none of the clichés are fully developed so the whole story suffers. It is riddled with contradictions (Newberry is pinned as a rational Sherlock Holmes, who also believes in the occult?), Odd and contrived situations (the detectives persistently pursue criminals without bringing weapons and are often, "out gunned"), superfluous plots (Veronica's sister is in an asylum, because she can see the future, but her future predictions do not help solve the mystery), and inconsistencies (a feminist character who hardly ever fights).
Also, the pacing of the story is terrible. The internal timing of the story is so off kilter that it is often hard for the reader to tell whether it is morning, noon, or night, or if events have happened on the same day or days apart. Many chapters abruptly end with the characters giving up for the day in favor of dinner or lunch.
Finally, I counted at least 6 sound editing errors, where the narrator repeats himself, or it seems like a small piece of the story was missing.
The Text editor allowed Mann to make several plot errors, and the sound editor did a bad job putting the story back together. The reader was good, and the story was entertaining for all its flaws. If it were only $10 it would be worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Diane
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 09-08-10

Quite good first book

There were any number of reasons I enjoyed this book, and only a few dislikes. My first like is the narrator, Simon Taylor, who has the perfect voice for all of the characters in this book (especially Sir Maurice and, interesting, Miss Hobbes). The plot is a bit thick and tangled at times, something I'd put down to a first time author (but surprising in such a seasoned editor), but all in all it kept my attention.

Sir Maurice is a flawed character, but not aggressively so-a relief after reading Stacia Kane's Downside books featuring a junkie witch. But despite his elegance and good looks, he's a laudanum addict and that should be an interesting thread in future books.

I was definitely struck by the gentleness of the book, despite some blood and gore scenes featuring the revenants and the automatons. If you're looking for something thought-full, this is it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good Story

good story.
would like to hear more from the main characters.
and the story is well written.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Perfect Narrator!

Simon Taylor is the perfect choice to voice this tale. He embodies the characters excellently, and brings great life to the already-enjoyable text. I had already read this book when I decided to try an audiobook version, and I like this best. Simply aces!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Zombies, Steampunk, Holmes and Feminists

I bought this title because I loved Doctor Who: Engines of War. This is very different! A secret agent for a Steampunk Queen Victoria solves incredible crimes with his equally intelligent, female assistant. The "Doctor Watson" role is filled by his friend at Scotland Yard. Why does Scotland Yard seem to have so many fictional foggy brained Chief Inspectors?

There is lots of gore, well and truly described here. I found I could not listen late at night if I wanted any sleep. But I couldn't stop listening because the characters were also well developed and the plot was engaging.

The narrator is particularly good at choosing voices, I thought. Some of them were not the voice I would have chosen and he whispers a lot for some reason, but he's the artist and I mostly forgot about him and let the story unfold in my mind - which is the hallmark of a good narrator.

One thing I found annoying, funny or interesting (depending on my mood) was the frequent moments when the narrator would suddenly emit 4 clicks and then repeat the phrase he had just finished. I think this must be an editing mistake. Someone was supposed to catch those and edit them out.

People who watch "Walking Dead" might live this. I'm still not sure whether the gore out weighs the really excellent plot and interesting characters