Ghosts of Manhattan, Paperback

Ghosts of Manhattan Paperback

1 out of 5 (1 rating)


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 centre of his dangerous web, he must battle with foes both physical and 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...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Snowbooks Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Fantasy
  • ISBN: 9781906727161



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For George Mann's sake, I'm glad that I have a tendency to purchase all of the books in a series when I decide to read the first one. He gets my commission, as does my local store. These are both good things. But never have I felt so embarrassed to read a novel since I was a kid first realizing that YA stories no longer held my attention or demanded my suspension of disbelief. And those were the well-constructed stories.I don't like to write negative reviews of anything at all, so I'll keep this short. The Ghost doublet (so far) of "Steampunk" novels is atrocious, trite prose filled with obvious tropes and zero mystery, wonder, or sense of place. I had to force myself to finish <i>Ghosts of Manhattan</i> only because I like to complete the books that I purchase, in a sort of OCD-manner. I'll distill my horrific experience into five points, and leave it there:1) Mann is British, and is writing about a dystopian New York in the 1920s. Regardless, all of his characters speak in the British idiom, with no attempt whatsoever to establish personalities that have any sense of relevant colloquiality. Amateur mistake or lack of attention, either way it burned the fourth wall straight down.2) If it were of the Pulp genre, or even a nod thereunto, it would still be a dismal addition. But it's excitedly touted as Steampunk (isn't everything these days?) with the same absence of setting as that of Mann's portrayal of language. Aside from the mention of New York and the occasional boiler-plate dropping of some weak, non-useful Victorian-tech, it might as well have been set anywhere, anytime. Sure, I'm sick to death of the Steampunkian-rapine that has gone on in the past decade. But still, self-igniting cigarettes, police airships above the city, and coal-powered cars alone do not a genre make. Besides, those are really the only three anachronistic tech elements he squeezes into the book, repeatedly and with absolutely no subtlety. I think I read that one of the characters "pulled the ignition tab on his cigarette and watched it flare" no less than five times. It hurts, I tell you.3) Ghosts of Manhattan is a weak attempt at sandwiching everything that's already been done before together into something that's been left in the fridge long past its sell-by date. It's <b>exactly</b> the <i>Great Gatsby</i> mashed-up with <b>exactly</b> <i>Batman</i>, without any of the style, emotion, mystery, or excitement of either. The characters aren't really tortured or even human - they're cardboard cutouts of grim detectives, playboy millionaires-turned vigilantes, and pure-evil antagonists who are trying to end the world by summoning elder gods from out of space and time. Really.4) All of the women in this world are glamorous, enticing sirens for the main character's fancy. More like George's fancy.5) Just add Cthulhu. It's like the Prime Directive in Sci-Fi and Fantasy: <b>never</b> use time-travel to tell your story. So leave the tentacles to those who can really use them. If Steampunk and Batman aren't working, stuffing in some Lovecraft certainly won't make it any better.Hey, I've still got the second book to go.I was hoping that I'd be a Mann-eater, but after reading <i>Ghosts of Manhattan</i>, I'm much more of a Mann-hater.