I’d had my eye on the audiobook version of this for a while; a Victorian steampunk adventure, it sounded right up my street and when I finally finished my last audiobook, I quickly downloaded this one and ended up whizzing through it in no time, I was having so much fun. And that is what The Affinity Bridge by George Mann is, fun. It’s the story of the Crown Investigator Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant Veronica Hobbes, who work under a cover of sorts at the British Museum, in between investigating matters of personal concern to Queen Victoria. They are investigating a series of possibly spectral murders in the perpetually fog shrouded East End when they’re called off the case to investigate an airship crash (this being a steampunk novel, airships fill the sky, carriages rattle along under coal driven steam power and automata serve drinks – amongst other things – at parties). Their investigation takes them across London into the world of the airship manufacturer, whilst simultaneously dodging the zombie filled streets, as a plague that turns its victims into the walking dead sweeps the East End. The beginning of the book builds the world and the case nicely with the latter half of the book almost one fight scene after another. I could see this book being made into a good film, directed by someone like Danny Boyle or Guy Ritchie, it was amazing I wasn’t walking like a zombie myself this afternoon whilst out shopping and listening to the end of this, as I could almost literally see Sir Newbury battle it out on the roof of a moving train or dangling from an airship in a violent storm.
The enjoyable experience of this audiobook was aided by it’s narrator, Simon Taylor, who has a very rich plummy accent, so there were lots of strung out rrrrrrs and he was good at doing a wide variety of voices, so it was almost like listening to an audioplay instead of an audiobook.
If your were to check out some of the Amazon reviews, The Affinity Bridge has come under some criticism and true it is a touch too clichéd and there is perhaps a touch too much repetition as well, as one set of characters go and discover something and then spend the next scene telling a different set of characters exactly what you’ve just learnt in the previous scene, but despite all that I have a soft spot for adventures like these. I liked the characters, so didn’t mind them constantly repeating information to each other and it fun spotting the number of times the characters were sitting in their Chesterfields drinking tea, which could apparently cure nearly all ills it seemed.
I will be reading the next book.