The Constantine Affliction

T. Aaron Payton
Nightshade Books

1864.  London is a city in transition.  The Constantine Affliction–a strange malady that  kills some of its victims and physically transforms others into the  opposite sex–has spread scandal and upheaval throughout society.   Scientific marvels and disasters, such as clockwork courtesans, the  alchemical fires of Whitechapel, electric carriages, and acidic monsters lurking in the Thames, have forever altered the face of the city.
Pembroke“Pimm” Hanover is an aristocrat with an interest in criminology, who  uses his keen powers of observation to assist the police or private  individuals–at least when he’s sober enough to do so.  Ellie Skyler, who hides her gender behind the byline “E. Skye,” is an intrepid journalist driven by both passion and necessity to uncover the truth, no matter  where it hides.
When Pimm and Skye stumble onto a dark plot that  links the city’s most notorious criminal overlord with the Queen’s new  consort, famed scientist Sir Bertram Oswald, they soon find the forces  of both high and low society arrayed against them.  Can they save the  city from the arcane machinations of one of history’s most monsters–and  uncover the shocking origin of . . . THE CONSTANTINE AFFLICTION.

T. Aaron Payton lives in Northern California, where he haunts the darker sections of  libraries and bookstores and indulges his love for antiques.

My Review:

I love steampunk and I love mystery, and this book is a great mix of both thrown into a historical version of London.  A disease, called the Constantine Affliction, has ravaged society with some very unusual side affects, like turning women into men and vice versa.

In fact, one of our main characters has been afflicted.  Freddie was once the best friend of Pimm but, with the Affliction, turned into a female.  Pimm does the honourable thing, which is of course to marry her.  Pimm saw this as the only way to keep his friend around.

Another fun character is Eleanor Skyler – a female jounralist whoc uses the by-line of E. Skye to keep her anonimity.  She finds herself dragged into this case after deciding to write an article about the clockwork brothels.

Pimm finds himself contacted to the crime kingpin, Able Value, to investigate what is happening to his ‘girls’.

From there, this turns into a rollicking adventure full of fun, interesting science and a multitude of interesting possibilities.  This is a great book and if you like to be caught up in a great story with fascinating lead characters, then I can heartily recommend “The Constantine Affliction”.

My Rating:

4 out of 5