George Mann’s latest installment in his Ghost series, Ghosts of Karnak, is the 3rd in the ongoing tales of crime fighting adventures in a 1920s steampunk Jazz era New York.
I must admit that I have not read the previous books, and I found that to be no issue at all. There are only a few references to those, and none make you feel like you can’t follow the current story, which is great. It has left me with a desire to pick up the other two though.
Once again, the Ghost, a vigilante that reads like a cross between those other pulp fiction heroes: the Spirit and the Rocketeer, with a touch of Batman thrown in the mix, must save New York, and possibly the world as a whole. Whilst he may remind of those other heroes, the Ghost is very much a character in his own right, and a splendid leading man at that. His motley crew of allies are all equally well written. Paired with a storyline that keeps you glued to the pages, this is a brilliant read.
I especially liked how the point of view switches between characters, with subtle differences as the story unfolds through the eyes of different people, but without breaking pace or narrative.
As The Gatehouse is a strictly spoiler free medium, I won’t delve too deep into the story, but just let me say that the ancient Egyptian element, is really well done in this novel. But, you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate this. The story is a perfect mix of history, science, mystery and the supernatural, topped off with some excellent steampunk inventions and touches all throughout. All of this combined makes Ghost of Karnak one of the best steampunk books I’ve read so far.