Ghosts of Manhattan

Ghosts of Manhattan

Book - 2010
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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 from 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 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.
Publisher: Amherst, NY : Prometheus Books, 2010
ISBN: 9781616141943
1616141948
Branch Call Number: F MAN NVD
Characteristics: 237 p. ; 23 cm

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c
continuum01
Sep 08, 2013

A steam punk novel, said I. Might be interesting. Turns out, the only interesting thing about this book is the title. The story is boring, the writing is mediocre.

t
TuesdayMoon
Apr 12, 2011

Not remotely steampunk, but I wasn't expecting it to be. Plot fairly transparent, but lots of graphic violence. It's a nice book to zone out with.

(For some reason most of the men in this book wear "immaculate black suits." I suspect it's because George Mann doesn't know much about style :D )

c
cartoon_goblin
Aug 17, 2010

George Mann’s Ghosts of Manhattan is, like the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, not a brilliant piece of work, but it’s so enthusiastically done, I couldn’t helped by be charmed and entertained by it.

Ghosts of Manhattan is set in an alternate 1920s where the U.S. is engaged in a cold war with Great Britain, people drive steam-powered cars, and holographic telephones are commonplace. In a New York City plagued by a mysterious crime lord known as “the Roman,”a group of characters come into contact and conflict: wealthy dandy Gabriel Cross; Felix Donovan, tough-as-nails police detective; Celeste, a jaded jazz singer; sinister criminal Gideon Reece; and a driven, masked vigilante called the Ghost.

The book jacket describes the Ghost as “the World’s First Steampunk Superhero.” I’m not sure how accurate that is: there may be a steampunk superhero that predates the Ghost, and despite the steam-driven cars, the technology in Ghosts of Manhattan isn’t strictly “steampunk.” In fact, the technology and alternate history don’t really add anything to the story. Mann could have written this as a straight pseudo-historical adventure and it would have worked the same.

And it does work. Mann pours on the purple prose and embraces loads of superhero and adventure clichés, but uses it in an exciting, fast-paced adventure story written with an obvious love for the hero pulps (like the Shadow, the Spider, Doc Savage and more). Mann has a way of making his purple prose and clichés seem…well, not fresh, but full of energy and fun. It helps that Mann’s characters are all engaging (even the minor characters), with charming personalities and wounded hearts. The sex and violence is a bit more graphic than in the original hero pulp storie, which threw me a bit at first, but I quickly got used to it.

Ghosts of Manhattan is a terrific take on pulp stories of masked crimefighters. I hope Mann writes more Ghost adventures.

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_WALLY_
Nov 12, 2012

Violence: Very graphic portrayal of violence.

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_WALLY_
Nov 12, 2012

Coarse Language: Not overbearing quantities of vulgar language, but just enough to warrant notice. Totally unnecessary.

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_WALLY_
Nov 12, 2012

_WALLY_ thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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