Kim Newman is perhaps best known for his wonderfully entertaining sequels to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which took the Vampiric Count into various eras of the twentieth century. Most notably, in Anno Dracula, identifying the true identity of the notorious WWI German fighter ace known as the Red Baron…
Immensely erudite and wonderfully witty Newman is a master at twining period detail and the fascinating details and surprising facts and linkages of history into page-turning genre adventures. Now with Angels of Music he steps away from the saga of his many faced Dracula to spin a standalone tale around Gaston Leroux’s Paris and his faceless Phantom of the Opera.
But this is an ensemble piece. This novel’s chief delight (alongside its rich Parisian period feel, the fulsome detail and the surprising nuggets from history) is its cast of female agents tasked with policing the city. Hiding their true identities and purposes behind the roles of dancers, singers, cabaret artists and prostitutes they are an immensely able and hugely likeable group. Newman delights in undermining the assumptions about their public personas and the gender politics of the time to create an elite force to throw into a maze of danger, politics and ruse that keep the pages flipping. If you love the playful invention of Neil Gaiman and Christopher Fowler, Newman’s Paris is for you. ~ Simon Spanton