New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear

Published: 2008

Genre: alternate history

Length: 267 pages

Setting: Europe and New England colonies, around 1900

Interest: I had listened to two short stories set in the New Amsterdam universe on PodCastle (The Tricks of London and Wane, which is actually a chapter in New Amsterdam) and enjoyed them greatly. I was perusing my reading list, and taking off books that our local library system doesn’t have, but when I came to New Amsterdam, I decided it would be worth it to actually buy the book.

Summary: The book is set up as six self-contained novellas, concerning the wampyr Don Sebastian and his court. Don Sebastian is leaving Europe for the British colony New Amsterdam with only his young “friend” Jack. On the way, a passenger disappears, and Don Sebastian uses the detective skills he’s honed over the years to solve the mystery. Once in New Amsterdam, he becomes acquainted with Detective Crown Investigator Abigail Irene Garrett, who is called in on cases that seem to have a supernatural or magical component. They work together to solve a case of families disappearing within their homes, the murder of the governor’s wife, and a locked room murder, before Abigail Irene (always both names; never just Lady Abigail) stands up to the Crown and both Don Sebastian and Abigail Irene flee to Boston. Political intrigue makes it unsafe to stay in Boston, so they head to France, prepared to act as ambassadors to France to establish Home Rule in the colonies. The Prime Minister of France requires them to solve a series of murders that happen during the full moon first.

Final thoughts: As good as I was hoping. I love the combination of magic and tech that provides a steampunk feel, with airships and Tesla’s broadcast energy alongside wampyrs and magic wands. Both Abigail Irene and Don Sebastian were strong, interesting characters. Although it might seem cliche for the strong female character to fall for the brooding, yet unique wampyr, it did feel like a natural fit for the two of them. Some adult situations implied, but nothing explicit.

Title comes from: The location of several of the stories.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

1 Comment

Filed under Book review

One response to “New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear

  1. Pingback: Skin in the Game by Elizabeth Bear | Fill Your Bookshelf

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