Friday, 11 March 2016

The Immorality Engine by George Mann

Have I mentioned how much I rate this series? If you’re a regular reader of this blog (in which case you have my perpetual thanks) you are surely aware of the high esteem in which I regard the Newbury & Hobbes books. 

Gentleman investigator Sir Maurice Newbury is called into service once again by the crown when the body of a notorious criminal is found. Not so strange in itself, but not long after, a second body of the very same criminal is uncovered which presents an even bigger mystery to the police. 

Newbury sets about trying to piece together the clues and as always is aided by his trusty assistant Veronica Hobbes. Things get even more risky when an attack on the palace has Queen Victoria preparing for war against an unknown enemy, and with devious physicians and a cultish club at work, the crime fighting pair have their work cut out for them to protect not only themselves and their loved ones, but also the interests and safety of the Empire. 

Newbury and Hobbes have had quite a solid working relationship up until now, but the secret that has been slowly pushing them apart could be the very thing that ensures they stay together in the course of the novel. Their relationship is also pushed to the limits as Newbury’s opiate addiction really takes hold and begins to seriously affect his daily life. 

The crime drama and occult action in this novel is just as thrilling as others in this series, but in this story, it was the deeper exploration of Newbury and Hobbes’ relationship that really shook things up for me. Newbury has a brilliant mind, but his need for opium abuse puts him on a dangerous path of self-destruction that could be his downfall adds some extra drama. 

There is always some kind of creative steampunk inclusions in these stories, and the lock-picking yet deadly spider automatons in this tale were particularly memorable. Someone really needs to turn these books into a TV series so I can see all of these weird and wonderful creations come to life! 

If you’ve yet to read a Newbury & Hobbes novel  (if so, you’re missing out) and don’t want to commit to a whole series, then each novel could stand alone, as each new investigation is unique and the story always sets up the characters as if you were meeting them for the first time, so you won’t feel like you’ve missed too much. 

I can’t really think of any kind of criticism, other than I hope there are plenty more Newbury and Hobbes cases left to come. With this book and all the others, there is so much for the reader to get hooked on in the storyline including crime, occult, adventure and mystery so the pages will literally fly by as you read.

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