cover image Ghosts of Empire

Ghosts of Empire

George Mann. Titan, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-783294-18-3

American Gabriel Cross, Mann’s Batman-like hero, finds danger in England in his lackluster fourth outing in this steampunk thriller series set in the early 20th century (after 2016’s Ghosts of Karnak). Gabriel, who poses as a playboy reminiscent of Bruce Wayne, is happiest “scudding about over the rooftops of New York” in what he considers to be his true persona, that of the Ghost, a “solitary figure of vengeance.” Without a call for his brand of vigilantism, Gabriel finds his time in London a bore until a man soaked in blood, the apparent victim of a mauling by a big cat, appears at his hotel. The man, British Secret Service agent Peter Rutherford, who was Gabriel’s expected dinner guest, insouciantly apologizes for being late before collapsing and being taken to a hospital. After Rutherford is abducted, Gabriel sets out to rescue the agent and help him overcome his adversaries, including hooded figures who have the magical ability to deflect bullets. The characters and situations are familiar, and the world-building in this alternate reality is underdeveloped. (Oct.)