Gideon Smith and the Mask of the Ripper

David Barnett. Tor, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3426-8
The third installment of Barnett’s lively Victorian pulp/steampunk adventure series (after Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon) finds “Hero of the Empire” Gideon Smith and friends chasing a murderer in gaslit London, where Jack the Ripper is “slicing off the tops of whores’ heads as though he’s looking for something.” Spymaster Walsingham and intrepid reporter Aloysius Bent suspect the Ripper might be seeking a mysterious artifact used by the missing professor Hermann Einstein to bring Maria, a clockwork woman, to life. Capture the Ripper, Walsingham thinks, and they will find Einstein. But of course it’s not that simple. Barnett cheerfully borrows from classic authors and a little actual history to weave his tangled plot, full of mistaken identity, hypnotism, romantic complications, a mysterious man in black, and a runaway dinosaur. While the plot drags in spots, Barnett creates some provocative and genuinely dark moments, and an intriguing cliffhanger sets up his next book. Fans of pulp adventure and steampunk settings will enjoy this strong series. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/24/2015
Release date: 10/13/2015
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