Ghosts of War by George Mann

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Ghosts of War by George Mann

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: Pulpy, fun and always entertaining, Ghosts of War is a look at an alternate 1920's Manhattan - where winged beasts roam the streets, America and Britain are locked in a cold war, and a lone hero may hold the key to keeping the peace...
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: March 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
ISBN: 9781783294145

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In 1920's Manhattan, a lone hero patrols the streets and the skies, using his immense wealth and futuristic technology to keep evil at bay. However, at the start of Ghosts of War, the Ghost is in mourning, following the tragic events that concluded Ghosts of Manhattan, the first book in the series. Thankfully for the Ghost (and for the reader) - Manhattan is under seige, and he has little time to lick his wounds. Mechanical winged beasts roam the skies, an alcoholic ex-lover is back on the scene, and a British spy may have to be dealt with in order to prevent a cold war turning hot...

George Mann is a much liked writer, who wrote the rather wonderful Newbury and Hobbes series - steampunk mystery novels set in Victorian England. The Ghost series takes place in the same universe, but several decades later. The fun victoriana of the Newbury and Hobbes books has been replaced by the dark, mysterious and smokey noir of the 1920's, and it makes for fun reading.

Mann has his world built excellently - although I would still like some elaboration on the origins of the Cold War, the tensions between Britain and America are palpable here. Given that this is the second in a series, the main characters are well established, so require little introduction - although I still wish they received some more development. Whilst I do enjoy that this is a fast paced, pulpy read that requires little thought - some depth wouldn't go amiss here and there.

The villains are fantastic though - whilst it was touched upon in Ghosts of Manhattan, George Mann really turns up the 'H.P Lovecraft Crazy' dial up to 10, and produces wonderful, terrifying creations.

Compared to Lovecraft's world though, Mann's is far more optimistic - the impending sense of doom in most of Lovecraft's work is what really kept me gripped to them, whereas in Ghosts of War, one never doubts that the Ghost will save the day.

The reader is certainly taken on a fun read along the way though - and if you're looking for something diverting and non-taxing, this is ideal! Mann makes no secret of the fact that this is supposed to be Pulp Fiction - so don't pick this up looking for the next Booker Prize winner, but instead, expect a thrilling page-turner with fun monsters and exciting characters.

I'll be looking forward to the next in the series- thanks to the publishers for the copy.

If you enjoyed the beasts and madmen who roam Mann's Manhattan, Letters to Lovecraft : Eighteen Whispers to the Darkness by Jesse Bullington (editor) is a collection of short stories by various authors, who craft enchanting, macabre and truly Lovecraftian tales.

George Mann's Ghost Series in Chronological Order

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