I think I may have gone a little overboard in my adoration of The Affinity Bridge. I really liked that book because of the way it blended tone and atmosphere while simultaneously braiding a few plotlines into a compelling mystery. The Osiris Ritual pulls off the same feats just as well, without feeling formulaic–and yet didn’t wow me as much. Perhaps it’s because I read the two so close together, or perhaps it’s because I actually got around to reading some Sherlock Holmes in the time between volumes. In either case, TheOsiris Ritual, despite being a solid adventure story and a clever enough mystery, left me fairly unexcited.
Revenants and automation, crucial to the last book, are still present in this volume, but bring little to bear on the story. Instead, the focus is on a mummy’s curse, or at least a series of deaths all in some way related to the unveiling of a Theban mummy to London’s high society. Sir Maurice Newberry is on the case, while at the same time trying to track a rogue Agent (Newberry works as an Agent of Queen Victoria, as a sort of Holmes/Bond blend). The rogue however, is part man part machine, formerly dead and reconstructed by royal doctors: a sort of Frankenstein’s monster.
Meanwhile, Veronica Hobbes, Newberry’s assistant and (still unbeknownst to her boss) also an Agent, is trying to track down a serial killer. A rash of girls have gone missing, and the only apparent link is a traveling magician’s act. Of course the plotlines eventually find their way together, though I won’t spoil how. Mann does a good job of folding action scenes into his narrative, and there is more than one red herring to help keep the reader guess.
This is not a bad book, in fact it’s a good one. If you liked The Affinity Bridge, you’ll find this a worthy continuation of the series. Just don’t get your hopes too high. It is what it is, and not much more.