From Publishers Weekly
Set in a New Amsterdam that's still a royal colony at the turn of the 20th century, this engaging dark fantasy collection from John W. Campbell Award–winner Bear (Carnival
) introduces a tough, witty female sleuth. Abigail Irene Garrett is the perfect Victorian hard-boiled detective, with the added benefit of necromantic skills that make her a formidable forensic investigator in a world where sorcery is common. Teaming occasionally with vampire sleuth Sebastien de Ulloa, Irene cuts a figure of crime-fighting confidence through five of the six stories, grappling with demonic killers summoned for personal revenge or political intrigue, and plunging into wildly unpredictable adventures such as those recounted in "Lumière," a stunning blend of steampunk and eldritch horror. Bear's tales are not only ingeniously mysterious but also richly textured with details that bring the society and history of her alternate America to vivid life. Readers who like the grit of Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake novels and the historical heft of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's vampire tales will find similar pleasures here. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The zeppelin bound for New Amsterdam in British North America leaves France in 1899, carrying the typically far-ranging group of passengers, including a famous American film actress, a Hungarian aristocrat, a writer from Boston, an attractive young couple seeking political advancement in the Pennsylvania colony, and young Jack, traveling companion of Sebastien, a well-known detective. Less well known is Sebastien's vampiric need for blood. Then, help! Is there a detective in the house? The blood thickens when Madame Pontchartrain, the group's eldest member, disappears, never having slept in her bed. The joy here arises from watching the story's twists and turns unfold, accompanied by speculation about who else on board may be "of the blood" and by Pontchartrain's penchant for opium. Once in the New World, Sebastien adds to his blood sources sorcerer Abigail Irene Garrett, who's actually an officer serving the Crown's Duke Richard; and the plot complexities multiply, as do the cast members, giving new resonance to the term characters in this fast-moving supernatural alternative history yarn that's just bloody well good. Scott, Whitney