“Affinity Bridge” by George Mann is the steampunk book for fans of the mystery genre. Mann presents a Sherlock Holmes style with zombies and produces a thoroughly enjoyable story. The setting…Victorian London of course! Mann does an extraordinary job with descriptions, language , and character mannerisms that pulls the reader into the proper time period at the cusp of the steam-run revolution.
The main character, Maurice Newbury is a museum researcher and a agent for Queen Victoria investigating the supernatural. He is asked by the Crown to look into a strange disaster with the airship, “The Lady Armitage.” But what is a “Sherlock” without a “Watson?” Victoria Hobbes is Newbury’s new assistant which he bring along to uncover the truth. On the exterior she seems to me a submissive woman, proper for the time period, but she is truly an independent and strong woman.
Don’t let the word “supernatural” scare you off if you are just mystery or fiction reader. There is a hint of the supernatural through the “zombies” but they are not really zombies per say but victims suffering from a virus that parallels the trope of being a zombie (rotting corpses and eating human flesh). There are also a few indications of past cases of the supernatural and trophies but the story mostly follows the mystery of the airship.
Give this book a try and if you like it, you can try the sequel. The Osiris Ritual continues with a “steampunk mystery adventure featuring immortality, artifacts, and intrepid sleuths Sir Maurice Newbury and Miss Veronica Hobbes. Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, imagines life will be a little quieter after his dual successes solving The Affinity Bridge affair. But his villainous predecessor is hell-bent on achieving immortality, not to mention a secret agent who isn’t quite what he seems…. So continues an adventure quite unlike any other, a thrilling steampunk mystery and the second in the series of Newbury & Hobbes investigations.”