The Empire State is an alternate reality to what we know as 1930s New York City. Under oppressive rule, the inhabitants of the city are forced to ration all commodities to fund the war effort against an unknown force simply identified as “The Enemy”. When detective Rad Bradley is hired to investigate the disappearance of a young woman, he encounters visitors from New York. As Rad’s investigation continues, the truth behind the existence of The Empire State begins to unravel causing the detective to question everything he’s ever known.
I had a hard time writing that introduction. The truth is, a lot happens in this book and the less you know, the better. It should be noted that writing a book is most likely not an easy feat. When you’re writing a book that features time travel, multiple versions of any one character and more twists and turns than a race track in Mario Kart, it has to be that much more difficult.
Adam Christopher takes up the daunting task of presenting us with a Sci-Fi novel constructed with the pillars of many different influences. You have his love of superheroes with the appearance of original characters The Skyguard and his partner turned rival, The Science Pirate. You have his love of pulp-era detective novels with private dick, Rad Bradley as well his appreciation for weird alternate dimension travel through Doctor Who. You would imagine that approaching a novel incorporating all of these elements would create a bit of a jumbled, unfocused mess but Christopher manages to take those ingredients and create a pretty decent meal out of it.
Despite the fact that I’ve been known to have a hard time in the past keeping track of who’s playing for what side when several back-stabbings and twists occur, Christopher never left me feeling lost. Given the nature of a lot of these selfish characters, it’s only natural that each would align with the side that gave them the biggest advantage; even if at times only temporarily.
On a side note, I should mention that Angry Robot included a great interview after the novel’s conclusion that is definitely worth a read. Adam also included what he felt was a soundtrack to the novel itself featuring songs and artists that he listened to while working on the book as well as ones that influenced the story on a whole. There are links on Adam’s website to the iTunes as well as Spotify playlists if you wish to download them.
When I finished the book, I was glad to know that a sequel is being written (and even happier knowing that I already have an advanced reader copy ready to go). I’d give it a good hearty recommendation.