Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Immortality Engine-George Mann

The Immortality Engine

George Mann

Tor, Sep 27 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765327758

Although special agent Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes have solved some complex cases (see The Osiris Ritual), he has turned to opium. Part of his rationalization is the drug gives him psychic powers. However, deep down he knows the cause is his belief that his sidekick is an informer to Queen Victoria. In fact Veronica remains clueless that she is a prime cause for her partner’s addiction as her focus is on her frail sister Amelia who suffers from seizures that include prophecies. At the Grayling Institute, Dr. Lucien Fabian provides Amelia with special experimental care to induce her visions.

Scotland Yard Chief Investigator Sir Charles Bainbridge drags Newbury from an opium den to identify a murder victim; the CH believes the corpse is that master thief Edwin Sykes. Newbury confirms the deceased is Sykes, but something seems off kilter though he is unsure what. When a robbery that only Sykes could have done with the technology deployed leaves the three sleuths stunned.

The third Victorian Newbury-Hobbes mystery is an exciting alternate historical thriller. The lead protagonists have personal issues as he has become an opium eater and she is paralyzed by fears for her failing sister. The Sykes enigma is deftly handled as The Immortality Engine is a wonderful steampunk who and how investigation; vastly different yet as much fun as the occult themed The Osiris Ritual.

Harriet Klausner

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