Meanwhile, Veronica Hobbes is investigating the disappearances of young girls that seem to be connected to a traveling magician. The Osiris Ritual is the second Newbury & Hobbes Investigation book and is a vast improvement on the first. The villains are more vile, the action more furious, and Newbury sinks further into the depths of opium addiction while Hobbes debates telling him the secret we all learned at the end of The Affinity Bridge, the previous volume.
The world building is very strong and really gives an excellent portrayal of a steampunk Victorian London. Also being the gamer fan I see a lot of AC Syndicate in this too which I like (the characterisation is excellent in that game and maybe that's what I'm comparing it to) Overall a pretty good spy/detective novel with an interesting steampunk vibe.
In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
The characters have the potential for compelling relationships, and the story has potential as well. Mann's writing is the impediment: poor pacing, absurdly extended predictable action sequences, and a bad tendency to restate obvious plot point sseveral times in as many chapters (which comes across to me as a dim view of audience intelligence). Every character in this novel "grinned" multiple times, and at least a dozen times someone's lips "curled into a smile." In chapter twelve, two characters have a conversation.
Excellent steampunk tea time action.
This is a steampunk mystery novel about immortality, featuring investigators Newbury and Hobbes, agents of the Crown. We learn a bit more about the two main characters, the charming Mr Newbury and the feisty and intelligent Miss Hobbes. And to be honest, who would not fall in love with a woman like Miss Hobbes. But I find that with a lot of books so I can live with it.
Mann has a rich imagination and his highly stylized writing buoys this novel, which in the end is more about a mystery involving life after death, the occult and Egyptian mummies In this novel, Newbury, who is both addicted to landenum and is now taking opium, is tasked by the Queen to locate Ashford, a former agent, who apparently was kept alive by Dr. Fabian after a terrible accident, but who has disappeared on a journey back to England. Newbury is also investigating, with the help of a young reporter Purefoy, the death of an explorer who found a mummy.
Sir Maurice is off on assignment for the Queen looking into the "return" of another agent, William Ashford, who may have gone rogue and who may be involved in a high profile killing of the Egyptologist Lord Winthrop, whose discovery and then death are front page news as written by Newbury's new protege, George Purefoy. When you crave bedtime stories about King Tut's Curse and Lord Carnarvon's dog howling and dropping dead at the same moment his master died, well, it's not that much of a surprise that that person grows up to dwell on stories of mummies and devours the entire oeuvre of Elizabeth Peters. Though of course I like my Egyptian thrills from a nice comfy armchair versus up close and personal, the time my parents took me to the King Tut exhibit and I spent the entire time crying in a stairwell at The Field Museum in Chicago because by father and brother had convinced me that the mummy would curse me is a case study in why books are best. The erstwhile and eager reporter George Purefoy was my entre into this world, we stood in awe together, and who wouldn't want to be brought under the wing of Sir Maurice Newbury and listen to his insights? Like all good storytelling while we are given an answer to the "curse" the book was able to suspend our disbelief and make us believe in the magic of "what if?" Though in other parts the magic faltered a little. There are many more reasons for them to not get together, and it looks like in future this will work far better for George's storytelling then this move did. What I loved most, which was oddly not Egyptian, was the hunt for the two former agents for the Crown, William Ashford and Newbury's predecessor, Knox. Not only was George able to portray the depth of these characters, making the villains have just as much going for them as the hero and heroine, but the relationship between Ashford and Knox reminded me powerfully of another famous book that has influenced the Steampunk genre.
A former editor of Outland, Mann is the author of The Human Abstract, and more recently The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual in his Newbury and Hobbes detective series, set in an alternate Britain, and Ghosts of Manhattan, set in the same universe some decades later.