Sunday, September 2, 2012

T Aaron Payton “The Constantine Affliction” (Nightshade Books, 2012)

The Constantine Affliction is wide tapestry of story elements:  mystery, horror, Lovecraft, steampunk.  It’s an examination of gender roles, of hubris & technology, of Victorian literature and pulp entertainments.  It’s also a whole lot of fun.

Gentleman detective Pembroke “Pimm” Halliday is invited to consult on a series of murders involving prostitutes.  Simultaneously, reporter Ellie “E Skye” Skyler is investigating the clockwork women who are working as prostitutes in London.  It turns out that the stories are intertwined, & they find themselves working to save the Throne.

Payton does an excellent job juggling a lot of characters and plot without ever sacrificing pace.  We have a fairly large cast of characters, but they all feel distinct and consistent.  Similarly, there are multiple disparate plots that all advance and seem solid.  Somehow along the way he makes time for digressions on the fantastical technology of his Victorian London.

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