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Ghosts of Manhattan (The Ghost #1)

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  809 ratings  ·  103 reviews
INTRODUCING THE WORLD'S FIRST STEAMPUNK SUPERHERO. 1926. New York. The Roaring Twenties. Jazz. Flappers. Prohibition. Coal-powered cars. A cold war with a British Empire that still covers half of the globe.
Paperback, 350 pages
Published July 1st 2010 by Snowbooks (first published January 1st 2010)
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Dieselpunk ePulp Showcase by Grant GardinerLeviathan by Scott WesterfeldA Fistful of Nothing by Dan GlaserPandora Driver by John PichaIgnition City Volume 1 by Warren Ellis
6th out of 98 books — 65 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,314)
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Dan Schwent
The year is 1926 and the USA is in a Cold War with Britan. Masked vigilante The Ghost is on the trail of a crime boss called The Roman. Can he evade police long enough to catch The Roman and put a stop to his reign of terror?

The easiest way to sum up Ghosts of Manhattan is to say "Steampunk Batman." That's what it is. It's very much a Batman story with steampunk trappings. And the trappings are minimal. If minor details were changed, it could have easily taken place in our 1926.

I have to admit I
M. Chandler
If I wanted to read Batman fanfiction, I could probably find better fic on the Internet for free.

While the book is set in an old-tymey steampunk universe, everything else is straight from the DC/Batman universe, coated with a quick and slapdash coat of paint. I do not know whether this is 'merely' a steampunk-AU fanfic with the serial numbers filed off, or if it was an official Elseworlds script submission which DC turned down, but either way, it's still Batman, albeit in the Witness Protection
Ed McKeogh
[Spoilers. Well, sort of. Honestly, it's not like you're going to be that surprised.]

Because this book often shows up on "essential dieselpunk" reading lists (even though the jacket claims it's the first "steampunk superhero"--a claim completely unsubstantiated anywhere in its 230+ pages), I (a sort of dieselpunk cadet) wanted to like it. But as it all-too-frequently happens these days with subgenres trying to find their niche audience, the otherwise appropriate pieces never quite come together
So this is how I end up spending my Sunday - I knew I wanted to read I just didnt realise how much.

So the book - well the first challenge is to say what genre it draws from which is easier said than done. There is noir detection, alternate history, science fiction, urban fantasy and those are the ones I recognise I am sure people can add more to them. But what of the story - well I guess with this many genres the author can pretty much do what he likes and knows that its acceptable under what ev
For George Mann's sake, I'm glad that I have a tendency to purchase all of the books in a series when I decide to read the first one. He gets my commission, as does my local store. These are both good things. But never have I felt so embarrassed to read a novel since I was a kid first realizing that YA stories no longer held my attention or demanded my suspension of disbelief. And those were the well-constructed stories.

I don't like to write negative reviews of anything at all, so I'll keep this
'Ghost of Manhattan' is George Mann's melding of the pulp genre with that of steampunk. Set in an America embroiled in a cold war with the British Empire, it is a world of coal-powered cars, bi-planes taking off from building tops on rockets, of mobsters and of....The Ghost.
The book centres on the vigilante 'The Ghost' and his attempts to thwart the schemes of the insidious mob boss known as 'The Roman'. Armed with a plethora of customised weaponry, he sets out each night to tackle the criminal
James Boocock
Mar 13, 2011 James Boocock rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no-one
Picked up for a pittance in a charity shop somewhere, so utterly awful that I may just bin it rather than have the possibility of someone else reading it sitting on my conscience.

Stylistically it nearly made me weep, for a book that steals so much from The Great Gatsby you'd hope the author would take more than a few characters and a setting and learn a little from his prose.

Also Alan Moore did the whole Cthulu erupts into high society thing a lot better in one of his League of Extraordinary Gen
Moving ahead several decades and continents in his steampunk universe serves George Mann well in this book which is a mix of superhero story (think Batman) and noir. The book is a pretty interesting read until the end. Mann has knack for writing crazy fight and chase sequences; in this book it's a bi-plane fight. The pace of most of the book is good, mixing the right amount of action and introspection.

Where the book lost me (and this is why I'm giving it 3 stars instead of 4) is in the final few
The back copy sold me on this book: new york in the twenties, with a steampunk spin -- and a villain called "the Roman" leaving freshly minted ancient coins on his victims' eyes.

We are introduced to the hero, the vigilante named "the Ghost", as he overcomes a band of hoods who work for the Roman. Shortly thereafter we meet a Gatsby-like character named Gabriel Cross who seemed to be his alter ego, only the author seemed to be trying to make me think he wasn't the Ghost, and then eventually just
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

This latest title by our buddies at Pyr has a killer concept, one that's almost impossible to pass up -- basically, imagine "The Shadow" of 1920s pulp fiction, but if his secret identity happened to be Jay Gatsby, the whole story taking place in a steampunk (noirpunk?) alt-history New York, a tech-forward
A fast, furious and ultra-entertaining read set in the alt-steampunk universe of the author's superb series "Newbury and Hobbes" but some decades later and in NYC rather than London; while Ghosts is as pure superhero adventure as it gets with clear-cut heroes and villains, gadgets (steampunk here), non-stop action, high body count and minimal plot, so it lacks the subtlety of Affinity Bridge and Osiris Ritual, the engaging direct style of Mr. Mann makes it work superbly and you cannot help but r ...more
Ghosts of Manhattan was a lot of fun. Unlike a lot of pulp homages, Mann doesn't try to echo the clunky dialogue and purple prose of the originals. Instead, he makes his book feel the way we remember the pulps feeling, concentrating on reminding us of the best qualities (fast pacing, larger than life weird action) instead of the worst.

I did wonder if too much information was saved until the final chapters, but ultimately, I think he did just enough foreshadowing to set everything up. I really en
Steampunk, alternate history, a hero who hides in the shadows of the world's most famous city... This had all the elements of what could have been a great book, but it just sort of fell flat.

None of the characters were really fleshed out enough to care about, and the reveal of the Ghost's true identity just didn't work for me. It was too sudden and didn't make sense as presented.

Everything wrapped up too easily, and the main love interest's involvement in the whole plot seemed to just be sort o
Added the book to my own 2010 book of the year

Ghosts of Manhattan is an intoxicating, gorgeous, action packed, adventurous, most entertaining, steampunk hero graphic novel without graphics.

You like heroes and steampunk? Then read Ghosts of Manhattan.

Read my full review over at Edi's Book Lighthouse
3.5 stars
George Mann bring together steampunk and superheroes in a 1920’s New York city that reflects our own but is from a distinctly unique history. Mann has seemingly moved his steampunk world of Newbury and Hobbs ahead a few decades and across the Atlantic.

The story follows the tale of The Ghost and his escapades against a gangster/bad guy called “The Roman”. The tale is more dark and noir compared to the Newbury and Hobbs stories, and more pulpy. Neither is a bad thing, but I did not find
David Radspinner
Ghosts of Manhattan was a fairly short book I picked up based entirely on the cover art and short description on the back, and turned out pretty good. The story takes place in a re-imagined Steampunk style 20s, and is essentially a superhero / detective story. The story follows the jaded but dedicated Detective Donovan, and the vigilante "The Ghost" who acts as the sort of anti-hero with no problem massacring a whole room of people, so long as they are armed and trying to kill him back. The stor ...more
Fantasy Literature
I’ve been lukewarm to George Mann’s Victorian steampunk novels set in London, finding them mostly adequate: quick-paced but a bit flat and somewhat too beholden to cinematic cliché. They are intermittently entertaining and lively, but never quite get all the way to good. Mann’s new novel, Ghosts of Manhattan, is similar, but set in America this time. It’s perhaps a step above the London novels in quality.

It’s 1926 and America is in a cold war with a British Empire that still stretches over much
I've really enjoyed George Mann's "Newberry & Hobbes" series of Steampunk novels, but this is in nowhere near the same class.
There are elements of a steampunk setting about this book, though nowhere near as well realised as his other books. "Ghosts of Manhattan" is set a little later in time - 1930s? - and is obviously a riff on the Green Hornet and early Batman tales. Our central character is another vigilante playboy with a twisted past.I found the whole thing a little tedious and never re
Richard Wright
Taking a break from his previous creations Newbury & Hobbes, here Mann rolls his steampunk universe a couple of decades into its future, to Manhattan in the mid-twenties, instantly rejuvenating his own world. Genre-fusing pulp vigilantes into his steampunk world, he launches into an action-packed adventure dotted through with gangsters, molls, biplane battles, and the supernatural. It's a fun ride, though could have perhaps benefited from a more gradual denouement of the plot, rather than sa ...more
"Ghosts of Manhattan" promises a blend of superheroism and steampunk but it falls very short of the mark on both. The steampunk gadgets seem to be a tacked on afterthought, the world building is sparse, and the characters are even even less detailed. You never care about The Ghost, his vendetta against The Roman, and would be better off reading a Batman book for story. The novel also suffers from some seriously clunky dialogue that may recall the format of pulp novels, but it comes off as cliche ...more
I picked this book as part of a new interest in steampunk. It certainly hasn't put me off reading more in the genre but I think I'll be trying other authors. A sort of prohibition era detective superhero story where the main character smacked a little of an alternate reality Batman, but without the noble reticence to kill, Ghosts was readable but not as engaging as it could have been. The Ghost's obsessive crusade against Manhattan's criminal elements was a strong start and the introduction of a ...more
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I have had the pleasure of reading some of George Mann's Sherlock and Newbury and Hobbes books and I have to say I was and still am impressed his writing is very good and addictive. Luckily for me Titan is reissuing his The Ghost series over the course of 2014-2015, and this means more reading adventures. This series does fall a bit in the lines of the detective adventures of Newbury and Hobbes and Sherlock but instead of taking place
LAPL Reads
What if the usual trappings of the Steampunk sub-genre were extended beyond the Victorian era and beyond the United Kingdom? What would an alternate New York in the 1920s look like? This is the jumping-off point for George Mann’s Steampunk-tinged, noir and pulp influenced novel.

The year is 1926 in an alternate New York from our own. The streets are choked with coal-powered cars and there are bi-plane launches off the roofs of most buildings. America is caught in a Cold War with the British Empir
⊱ Irena ⊰
You know who the Ghost is right from the start.
The story is told from three POVs (not the first person narrative): the Ghost, an honest cop and Gabriel Cross. Someone is killing well-known people all over the city leaving them in such a state that they are stripped of all their dignity. The main suspect is a man known only as the Roman. The Ghost is trying to purge the city of such evil.
This genre-bender was mostly very good, with a few weaknesses. For instance, the coal-powered steam cars were so wildly out of synch, technologically, with the communications devices that it was jarring. Also, the final reveals were of the "What the..." variety, rather than naturally flowing from the story, especially Celeste's big reveal.
Still, the characters of The Ghost and detective Donovan were well done, and fit the crime noir and pulp genres nicely. They and Celeste were stereotypes, but
Valerie Rayanne
This book introduces a dark, vividly imagined alternate world. The characters, setting and events are described in such perfect detail, it was like I had the graphic novel playing in my head while reading. The hero brings to mind Batman (though they were damaged in different ways), with Donovan, the cop, playing as his Commissioner Gordon.

There is fighting, and guns, and dogfights (in planes) and supernatural violence all of which are essential to the storyline. However, I had to put the book do
Steven Morton
I really did enjoy this book more than I thought I would; it had a nice pulp style to it which made it fun to read; the Ghost struck me as a low rent Shadow and I say that in a good way because he is not a perfect avenger of the night (he get beat up a lot in this book; he tires when in pursuit of a crook and he is not a master detective) but those qualities made him more interesting. This is also my first steam punk book ever and I was fascinated with Mann's ideas for the telephone (the holotub ...more
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
Gabriel Cross is leading a dual life. By outward appearances he is the playboy, always partying, always throwing around his cash, unconcerned by the world around him. But inside he is haunted by the war he fought in and almost died in. He will not let New York sink into a city on the brink with the cops being controlled by the mob. With the mob being controlled by the worst mobster of them all, the elusive Roman. Splitting his time between his lounge chair and the rooftops of the city, "The Ghos ...more
MB Taylor
Finished reading The Ghosts of Manhattan (2010) by George Mann. It’s a pretty good book, if a bit odd. This is the second book by Mann that I’ve read, and I think I preferred his earlier book, The Affinity Bridge (2009).

Both novels are steampunk, but where The Affinity Bridge takes place in the more usual Victorian London, Ghosts is set in a 1926 New York, which feels a bit strange. The basic premise of steampunk is advanced technology using the accoutrements of an earlier era. Generally this ea
Charlotte (Buried in Books)
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George Mann is an author and editor, primarily in genre fiction. He was born in Darlington, County Durham in 1978.
A former editor of Outland, Mann is the author of The Human Abstract, and more recently The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual in his Newbury and Hobbes detective series, set in an alternate Britain, and Ghosts of Manhattan, set in the same universe some decades later.
He wrote the T
More about George Mann...

Other Books in the Series

The Ghost (2 books)
  • Ghosts of War (The Ghost, #2)
The Affinity Bridge (Newbury and Hobbes, #1) The Osiris Ritual (Newbury and Hobbes, #2) The Immorality Engine (Newbury and Hobbes, #3) Doctor Who: Engines of War Doctor Who: Paradox Lost

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