By Adam Christopher
Published by Angry Robot
RRP £7.99 in Paperback (£4.49 on Kindle)
It was the last great science hero fight, one-time partners the Skyguard against the Science Pirate, but the fight released energies that ripped a hole in reality, giving birth to the Empire State. Linked by the fissure in reality the two worlds co-existed, the smaller Empire State a mirror of prohibition New York but in a perpetual state of war with an unknown and unseen Enemy. But the link between worlds is weak, and forces from both sides of the divide are working toward severing the link risking the existence of both worlds.
A jaded Private Eye takes on a simple missing persons case, and ends up a central figure in the battle to save reality. Robots, airships, shady organisations and high adventure, Rad Bradley must face them all, but worse than that it’s prohibition and he really needs a drink.
I forgot the golden rule of alternative reality stories whilst reading Empire State, everyone has a double. Schoolboy error I know, and boy did I feel stupid once the fact dawned on me roughly halfway into the book.
Empire State is Adam Christopher’s first book for Angry Robot. He is obviously a fan of the prohibition era and has researched well. The character’s are well visualised and obviously products of the time they are set in. Combining noire theme’s with fantasy and weird science, Adam has managed to create a vivid and vibrant tale that twists and turns through the grim fog shrouded streets of the Empire State.
All along you are kept guessing as most of the main characters switch sides, cross and double cross and baffle the central figure, Private Investigator Rad Bradley. But like Same Spade or Mike Hammer before him he doggedly forges ahead, his eye’s always on the case.
The opening chapters get the reader into the world of the Empire State, the place, the characters, Wartime. Sometimes slow going it is addictive and once you get into the second half of the book, you begin to realise why Adam took his time introducing you to everyone. You need to keep your wits about you as the pace quickens and you have to keep track of the what, where and why things are progressing. Refreshingly, for a modern writer, Adam doesn’t need excessive use of F and C bombs. There is some swearing, but it is there for a reason and fits in with the characters and said because – in a similar situation – you’d say it then as well.
As a first novel this is a fresh if twisted look at a classic era that is sure to please any fan of the weird and fantastic.