Empire State by Adam Christopher
Two New Yorks and a lot of fun
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this first novel by Adam Christopher – but it had come highly recommended by a number of my writer friends, so I figured it was worth a look.
Centered around a world with two New Yorks, one shrouded in fog and forever battling an unseen Enemy with the austerity of ‘Wartime’ and another set in our world in 1950, with all the light, noise and people that inhabited the city in that time.
The Empire State, with its heart in one of the many correlations between the two, the Empire State Building, has retained the prohibition of alcohol and is only nineteen years old. Which is weird, because the people in it remember lives and events that predate those nineteen years.
Without giving too much away, the activities of two superheroes or supervillans (depending on who you talk to), known as the Skyguard and the Science Pirate, have had an impact in both versions of the Big Apple. Rad Bradley, private detective and frequenter of his local speakeasy, is caught up in various schemes and machinations and quickly finds himself out of his depth.
For a first novel, this has a polished feel and tells a great story. The interactions between the characters as well as the two New Yorks has been crafted with great care and it shows. In terms of storytelling, this is some of the best I’ve read for a long time and it’s got a great deal to recommend it. There’s the PI in the style of Sam Spade, superheroes, bootleggers, battle robots, airships and strange thugs in gas masks, set against the backdrop of the bleak Empire State and the vibrant New York of our world.
I enjoyed Christopher’s tale immensely and am looking forward to his next effort. You won’t be wasting your money by buying this one.