Review by Nick Ahlhelm.
While my previous steampunk review Society of Steam: The Falling Machine was a tale of Victorian heroes in a superhero-esque team, George Mann’s Ghosts of War is straight up pulp heroics set in an alternate 1930s. The Ghost is a hero in the vein of the Spider, though with the emotional damages that drove him to vigilantism more prevalent.
The world of Ghosts of War has the US and England in a Cold War after England introduced massive war machines to win World War I. The early twentieth century setting is filled with steam-powered automatons, holographic phones and other bits of steampunk tech.
Massive cybernetic monstrosities called raptors are kidnapping and murdering people on the street. Only the Ghost and his allies, a police officer and his girlfriend, stand against them. The commissioner and a major businessman want all the focus on a British spy, but Ghost and his cop ally immediately suspect everything isn’t as it seems.
The Ghost’s battle with the raptors, the cop’s investigation of his own precinct and the spy’s attempts to save himself all lead into the discovery of the true nature of the raptors and their master.
Ghosts of War is actually a sequel to Mann’s previous book Ghosts of Manhattan, a fact of which I was unaware until I was a few pages into the book. Like so many great pulp stories, I never felt lost without the previous story, though the book did leave me intrigued to learn more about The Ghost’s origin.
Ghosts of War by George Mann is available now from Pyr Books.