James P. Blaylock
The collapse of the Victoria Embankment uncovers a passage to an unknown realm beneath the city. Langdon St. Ives sets out to explore it, not knowing that a brilliant and wealthy psychopathic murderer is working to keep the underworld's secrets hidden for reasons of his own.
St. Ives and his stalwart friends investigate a string of ghastly crimes: the gruesome death of a witch, the kidnapping of a blind, psychic girl, and the grim horrors of a secret hospital where experiments in medical electricity and the development of human, vampiric fungi, serve the strange, murderous ends of perhaps St. Ives's most dangerous nemesis yet.
As a very big fan of the Langdon St. Ives series of novels, I was very excited to see that there would be another book coming out from those lovely people at Titan Books. That's when I started to get a little bit worried. With the first three novels being so well written and positively gripping, would this new installment even come close to matching the heights that they set?
Well, after reading this one, I have to admit that it's done that and more.
As always, Blaylock has done a fantastic job of bringing his brilliant characters to life and that's even more apparent in this story, You find yourself really gripped by just what are going on in their lives and wanting to get to the next page as quick as possible to see which twist Blaylock is going to throw at you next.
Talking of twists, there are a hell of a lot of them here and while in other hands that would have dulled their impact, Blaylock gives each and every twists equal importance and that makes the story really crack along at a great pace.
The stories of St. Ives have always felt like a rarity in the steampunk genre. Within the genre, there always seem to be really paper thin stories and having a little bit of a mechanical slant to it. That's not the case here. His stories always come across as not only fully fleshed out but have a lot of surprises throughout the tale.
A detective is only as good as his nemesis and this novel has a great nemesis. I can't really say much about the character without giving away any spoilers so I'll just leave it as it is definitely worth grabbing this book for the nemesis alone.
If you are a fan of the first three books or even just of the steampunk genre alone, this is the book for you. The story is well paced, the characters multi-layered and there are so many twists that you will find yourself unable to put the book down.