Brenda EffieForever

Brenda & Effie are back! They have a new cover design and a new publisher and even Panda(??) seems to make an appearance.

Without giving to many spoilers if you like the idea of the Bride of Frankenstein running a guest house in Whitby this is for you!

Reviews of the series in order:

Review: Never the Bride by Paul Magrs

Review: Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs (Headline Review)

Review: Conjugal Rites by Paul Magrs (Headline Review)

Green Review: Hell’s Belles by Paul Magrs

Ghoulish Green Review: The Bride That Time Forgot by Paul Magrs (Headline Review)

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So I got excited when I read that The Executioner’s Heart was on it’s way and then I read this:

Exciting stuff! I’m really delighted with the new look, and it’s nice to know the big, comprehensive short story collection, The Casebook of Newbury & Hobbes is going to be published in a matching edition too

And so it begins

Hold up, a comprehensive short story collection?? Bloody brilliant! Love Newbury and Hobbes really can’t wait until they get released. 

See reviews of the first two:

Review: The Osiris Ritual by George Mann … – Gav Reads

Review: The Affinity Bridge by George Mann … – Gav Reads

Resurrection Engines

The anthology will feature sixteen brand new stories from some of the most exciting names writing in genre fiction today, and will be Steampunk ‘reimaginings’ or ‘retellings’ of classic works of literary fiction. Below is a list of the authors contributing to the book, along with their chosen literary work.
Unfortunately, due to a conflicting work schedule George Mann has had to reluctantly drop out of the anthology, instead we have the wonderful Jonathan Green, author of thePax Britannica novels, joining us on the anthology. Although it’s such a shame to lose a fabulous author like George, we’re all absolutely thrilled to have Jonathan with us instead!
“Resurrection Engines: Sixteen Extraordinary Tales of Scientific Romance” will be published in hardback on June 30th, then released in paperback in time for Christmas!
01 – Brian Herbert & Bruce Taylor    (H.G. Wells)
02 – Lavie Tidhar   (Alice in Wonderland)
03 – Adam Roberts   (Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
04 – Philip Palmer  (Wilkie Collins)
05 – Juliet E. McKenna   (H. Rider Haggard)
06 – Jonathan Green   (Moby Dick)
07 – Alan K. Baker   (Journey to the Centre of the Earth)
08 – Roland Moore  (White Fang)
09 – Scott Harrison     (Jekyll & Hyde)
10 – Alison Littlewood  (Silas Marner)
11 – Jim Mortimore  (Robin Hood)
12 – Cavan Scott   (Snow White)
13 – Kim Lakin-Smith  (Peter Pan / The Island of Doctor Moreau)
14 – Paul Magrs    (Wuthering Heights)
15 – Simon Bucher-Jones   (A Christmas Carol)
16 – Rachel E. Pollock   (Treasure Island)

Is it me are short stories really exciting at the minute?? This is a great project and look at those names including a Mr Adam Roberts! 


Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Published: 30 April by Snowbooks

It is 1861, and Albertian Britain is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy. Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him a King’s Spy. His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured former friend, John Hanning Speke. Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton’s investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn’t exist at all.

The Snowblog also reports of

…an endorsement  from none other than Michael Moorcock (Michael Moorcock!) who says "This is the best debut novel I have read in ages". Click below for the full glowing review.

Imagine you’re me and you started a company a few years back, and stuff happened, time passed, and then seven years later you get a review like that for a book you’re publishing from a childhood hero. Chuffed doesn’t begin to cover it.

Who can resist Victorian detective stories? What else is there to say?

Snowbooks also published the fabulous The Affinity Bridge by George Mann.


The Affinity Bridge by George Mann
Published by Snowbooks and Out Now

There are a few things going on with The Affinity Bridge. It’s a page-turner, a detective story, it features Queen Victoria, it has spies, and it’s steampunk to name but a few of them. It’s quite a pot that George Mann is throwing ideas into.

It could be a mess and a bad pastiche of steampunk-Colan-Doyle-style as it does draw heavily from the idea of gentlemen detectives and the troubles of the upper-classes.  But Mann has made it work. I was totally absorbed into his creation.

Simply he’s put his own stamp on everything.  The streampunk is understated but integral. Foremost, this is a detective novel and Newbury and Hobbes have a mystery to solve. Actually two mysteries but the first, the death of peasants is overtaken by the crash of an airship, a case that is of far more important to the Crown.

Mann challenges the thinking of the time with Sir Maurice Newbury’s assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes. Hobbes is in striking difference to his secretary Miss Coulthard, who is unable to function after the disappearance of her brother, which she suspects is at the hands of revenants who are stalking to the poorer areas of London. Hobbes on the other hand doesn’t think twice about hitching up her skirt and kicking the odd door from its hinges.

Mann grabs you by the scruff of the neck and throws you into his version of Victorian London, though I’m not taking any guesses at what year it is or how long Queen Victoria has been on the thrown and you’ll know why when you first meet her. He keeps the plot flying along. Newbury and Hobbes are fascinating in their own right but combined with the story Mann makes this a book that’s hard to put down and a world that’s hard to leave.

That isn’t to stay that it doesn’t have some weaknesses. There are a few action sequences, which are mostly well done but you get the feeling that Mann is enjoying himself too much in some places and that could they could have been cut down a little. I’m glad they are in there as they make for a nice change of tone from the politeness that Newbury usually exhibits.

There are a few words and phrases that jar every now and again and this is more to do with how well Mann captures the language of the time that when they get repeated you notice.  But the banter and the dialogue is first rate.

Newbury is a gentlemen spy so his nemesis is a gentlemen of sorts. And the cat and mouse game that they play is teasing and fun. You can’t take this tale too seriously though the main characters have strong emotional connections and they have a believable fondness for each other. Mann has given The Affinity Bridge a strong central core and one that can grow and be explored in the next and subsequent books.

And there a few tip bits thrown into this one. Hints at what could happen in the future and what has happened in the past especially from the last scene. Now that was a surprise.

I’m greatly looking forward to seeing the next Newbury and Hobbes adventure, The Osiris Ritual, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to see more of Newbury’s interests in the Dark Arts and what secrets he’s able to tap into.

Highly Recommended


I was lucky enough to receive a limited edition signed copy 53/500, which comes with bonus tale: The Hambilton Affair.

It’s a Hobbes-less tale where Newbury recounts an earlier investigation to his friend and Chief Inspector, Sir Charles Bainbridge. It’s a strange little tale of the search for a missing wife and when she’s found it shows that Mann is keen to explore this science in these tales.

It shows as well as that there is room for both a longer and shorter investigations. It will be interesting to see if Mann is able to write enough to come out with a short story collection? I’d buy it.


I’ve just found, but not yet read, another Newbury and Hobbes short story The Shattered Teacup


The Immorality Engine by George Mann 
Publisher SnowBooks

Another twitter find directed me to The Snowblog where Emma has posted the cover to The Immorality Engine by George Mann. It’s the third book in the Newbury & Hobbes series.

The Affinity Bridge

The first book, The Affinity Engine had reviews like:

Ultimately, the questions Mann leaves his readers to ponder (why are there so many zombies in London? And why is Queen Victoria so interested in robots?), as well as a subtle-but-impressive twist ending, will certainly entice them back for the sequel

Strange Horizons

Outdated technology is slowly giving way to steam technology, as evidenced by airships, steam engine carriages and the proliferation of automatons which mirror present-day outsourcing. The descriptions of this environment are so clearly described that you can practically smell the machine oil coming off the pages.

SF Signal

The blurb:

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London, a city teetering on the edge of revolution. Its people are ushering in a new era of technology, dazzled each day by new inventions. Airships soar in the skies over the city, whilst ground trains rumble through the streets and clockwork automatons are programmed to carry out menial tasks in the offices of lawyers, policemen and journalists. But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side. For this is also a world where lycanthropy is a rampant disease that plagues the dirty whorehouses of Whitechapel, where poltergeist infestations create havoc in old country seats, where cadavers can rise from the dead and where nobody ever goes near the Natural History Museum. The Affinity Bridge is the first novel in a projected series detailing the adventures of Victorian special agent Sir Maurice Newbury and his delectable assistant Miss Veronica Hobbes. The novel is set in an alternative version of Victorian London in which the industrial age has come early and steam technology has revolutionised the British Empire. Victoria is kept alive on the throne by a primitive life support system and her agents do battle with the enemies of the Crown, both physical and supernatural. The Affinity Bridge follows Newbury and Hobbes as they investigate the wreckage of a crashed airship and its missing automaton pilot, whilst attempting to solve a string of strangulations attributed to a mysterious ‘glowing policeman’ and deal with a zombie plague that is ravaging the slums of the capital. It takes place early in the projected sequence, not long after Newbury has first employed Veronica as his assistant, and serves as an introduction to both the characters and the setting. The Affinity Bridge should appeal to readers of The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt, Mainspring by Jay Lake and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke. It is inspired in equal parts by Doctor Who, The Avengers, Sherlock Holmes and The Mummy, as well as any number of classic Victorian novels such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Time Machine and Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. As well as being influenced by such classic Victoriana, the novel also draws deeply on many of the current trends in the SF/F genre, including elements of steampunk, discussions about the nature of artificial intelligence and the relationship between science and the paranormal.

Let’s not forget the second on is out in September


 The Osiris Ritual

Sir Maurice Newbury, Gentleman Investigator for the Crown, imagines life can be a little quieter from now on after his dual success in solving The Affinity Bridge affair. But he hasn’t banked on his villainous predecessor, Knox, hell bent on achieving immortality, not to mention a secret agent who isn’t quite as he seems…. So continues an adventure quite unlike any other, a thrilling steampunk mystery and the second in the series of Newbury & Hobbes investigations.

And from the news I posted yesterday books four, five and six are being planned. I’m going to get left behind if I’m not careful!

And if you got down to the bottom edifanob shared in yesterday’s post a link to the cover of:


Ghost of Manhattan 
Published 01 February 2010

1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe. Yet things have developed differently to established history. America is in the midst of a cold war with a British Empire that has only just buried Queen Victoria, her life artificially preserved to the age of 107. Coal-powered cars roar along roads thick with pedestrians, biplanes take off from standing with primitive rocket boosters and monsters lurk behind closed doors and around every corner. This is a time in need of heroes. It is a time for The Ghost. A series of targeted murders are occurring all over the city, the victims found with ancient Roman coins placed on their eyelids after death. The trail appears to lead to a group of Italian-American gangsters and their boss, who the mobsters have dubbed ‘The Roman’. However, as The Ghost soon discovers, there is more to The Roman than at first appears, and more bizarre happenings that he soon links to the man, including moss-golems posing as mobsters and a plot to bring an ancient pagan god into the physical world in a cavern beneath the city. As The Ghost draws nearer to The Roman and the center of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes
both physical an
supernatural and call on help from the most unexpected of quarters if he is to stop The Roman and halt the imminent destruction of the city.

War of the Wordsimage005

Click so you can read it!

Pick up issue 28 of SciFiNow, which should be out now. It kicks off the collaboration between them and Tor to find a new author.  War of the Words will encourage writers to send off three chapters and a synopsis by the 20th of August. SciFiNow will keep updating it’s website with content including podcast author interviews, Q&As and the mag will follow the publishing process with interviews and extracts.

It sounds exiting stuff – need to pick it up so I can find out the rules. Not that I’m going to enter…

I’ve been emailing John Jarrold, literary agent extraordinaire, and he was nice enough to pass along a couple of news items:

Nights of Villjamur is heading State-sideVilljamur

Del Rey paid a good five-figure US dollar sum for Mark Charan Newton’s mainstream debut Nights of Villjamur and its sequel.

If you haven’t noticed Nights of Villjamur has been getting some excellent buzz. So this is very exciting news and from what I’ve read so far I’m inclined to agree. Especially as he’s made it quite fast switching and deep. Not over until the fat lady sings though ;)

Though here is how others have found it:

Liquid prose with noir stylings evoke a brooding city in all its glory and despair, filled with believable characters and dozens of small innovations that make the world that bit more intriguing.

Speculative Horizons

Nights of Villjamur was a book that I couldn’t help but savor, lingering on several memorable passages, although there are various points when the action heats up so much, that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Fantasy Book Critic

I was worried I would find a dense, overwritten piece of philosophical literature hidden under a fantasy verneer (think Terry Goodkind’s Naked Empire, but not piss-poor), but what I found instead was a tightly plotted novel that worked just as well as a fantasy novel as it did a piece of introspective literature. In short, it would behoove potential readers to drop preconceptions of ‘literary’ fantasy and give Nights of Villjamur a fair shot

A Dribble of Ink

The blurb for Nights of Villjamur

Political intrigue and dark violence converge in a superb new action series of enthralling fantasy. An ice age strikes a chain of islands, and thousands come to seek sanctuary at the gates of Villjamur: a city of ancient spires and bridges, a place where banshees wail the deceased, cultists use forgotten technology for their own gain and where, further out, the dead have been seen walking across the tundra.When the Emperor commits suicide, his elder daughter, Rika, is brought home to lead the Jamur Empire, but the sinister Chancellor plans to get rid of her and claim the throne for himself. Meanwhile a senior investigator in the city inquisition must solve the high-profile and savage murder of a city politician, whilst battling evils within his own life, and a handsome and serial womanizer manipulates his way into the imperial residence with a hidden agenda. When reports are received that tens of thousands of citizens are dying in a bizarre genocide on the northern islands of the Empire, members of the elite Night Guard are sent to investigate. It seems that, in this land under a red sun, the long winter is bringing more than just snow.

The Adamantine Palace is bringing more dragonsadpalace

Ok, I admit it. I’ m not really into dragons. But reading some reviews I might be changing my mind:

These are the dragons your mom warned you about, the ones lurking in the shadows, doing bad things. Horrible things. These are the predators; the ones that floss with velociraptors. Unapologetic. Vicious. Intelligent. Unstoppable.

Blood of the Muse

It’s not just the dragons who come across well on the page; the human characters are also well treated by the author. Deas takes a lot of time to come up with characters that are well rounded and interact with each other in the way that you would expect from conniving, backstabbing and generally very ambitious people.

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review

The dragons in Deas’s novel do, initially, seem to be of the Pony variety, but I’m pleased to announce that this impression changes rapidly when one of them gets loose.

Sandstorm Reviews

The blurb for The Adamantine Palace:

The Adamantine Palace lies at the centre of an empire that grew out of ashes. Once dragons ruled the world and man was little more than prey. Then a way of subduing the dragons alchemicly was discovered and now the dragons are bred to be little more than mounts for knights and highly valued tokens in the diplomatic power-players that underpin the rule of the competing aristocratic houses. The Empire has grown fat. And now one man wants it for himself. A man prepared to poison the king just as he has poisoned his own father. A man prepared to murder his lover and bed her daughter. A man fit to be king? But uknown to him there are flames on the way. A single dragon has gone missing. And even one dragon on the loose, unsubdued, returned to its full intelligence, its full fury, could spell disaster for the Empire. But because of the actions of one unscrupulous mercenary the rivals for the throne could soon be facing hundreds of dragons . . . Stephen Deas has written a fast moving and action-fuelled fantasy laced with irony, a razor sharp way with characters, dialogue to die for and dragons to die by.

The sequel, KING OF THE CRAGS,  is due for publication in April 2010.

But on top of dragons Stephen Deas has also made a three-book deal writing for young adults.

Simon Spanton (Editor @Gollancz – gav) said

‘Following the success of THE ADAMANTINE PALACE it only seemed natural to approach John and ask if Steve would be interested in writing something for our upcoming YA list. And I shouldn’t have been surprised that the material Steve came up with would prove to be exactly what I was looking for – a fast moving fantasy tale, set in a richly realised world, centred round a young character who rapidly finds himself deep in a web of conspiracies he is barely able to survive despite his skills. Being Steve this is also a book that pulls no moral punches and admits to a genuine darkness – no-one escapes the impact of their actions and with this book describing the fall of a young thief into a life as an assassin that’s a particularly powerful aspect to the story for a younger readership. Much like Kristin Cashore’s GRACELING and Carrie Ryan’s THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH I expect this book to appeal equally both to readers of 14 years and upwards and those, like myself, well past their teenage years who nevertheless enjoy fantasy’s ability to make you feel a world afresh. That Steve has been able to add this string to his bow only increases my admiration of his talent and professionalism.’

 George Mann – it’s Snowing Books!!

George Mann has been signed up for more titles from Snow Books:

The six new books include the first two novels in a new series called ‘The Ghosts of Manhattan’, which is set in 1930s New York, as well as books four, five and six in the ‘Newbury and Hobbes’ series, which was started by The Affinity Bridge.

The deal will be completed by a short stories collection entitled The Huntingdon Legacy.

Really just need to pick up The Affinity Bridge next time I’m in Borders!

Sony UK sponsors Guardian Hay Festival to help push ebook device

Sony will back a panel discussion – called Brave New World: Rights and Wrongs in the Digital Future – as well as setting up a sponsored venue, Sony Screen, to provide “on-site experiential opportunities” with the Sony Reader.

the guardian

I do love my little Sony Reader. I’ve been writing a post for the last few days trying to gather my thoughts on ebooks in general. There are lots of pros and cons to the whole business but for those people that like reading and don’t have a pile of books already that they need to read the Sony Reader and other ebook devices are a pretty good experience.