The Immortality Engine

Written by George Mann
Review by Ann Chamberlin

Multiples of a single criminal are turning up dead at crime scenes in the streets of London. Veronica’s visionary sister is undergoing dubious medical treatment. Thus forms the backdrop of this latest of the adventures of Miss Veronica Hobbes and Sir Maurice Newbury which have included everything from the undead to Zeppelin crashes in previous installments.

George Mann is not my favorite spinner of steampunk. Action scenes are excellent and come breathlessly one after the other, but at the expense, to my mind, of thoughtfulness and the exploration of ideas that intersections of history and fantasy/science fiction allow. Adolescents were the target audience of the first penny dreadfuls, so I suppose this lapse is period-appropriate, and sure to be part of Mann’s success. Lapses of Victorian manners and language also take me out, but I have to confess a wild fondness for the old queen on steam-driven life support, necessary because of the date and sinister plot turns.