ANGELS OF MUSIC

PrintE-mail Written by Christian Bone

In the grand tradition of Phillip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton family or Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Kim Newman’s fiction frequently draws from a melting pot of other sources (particularly Victorian literature and old movies, as they are in the public domain). His latest novel, Angels of Music, is no different and thankfully makes for another strong instalment into the Newmanverse library.

In Angels of Music, the Phantom of the Opera is not just a disfigured romantic but in fact runs the clandestine Opera Ghost Agency – a team of elite female agents who repeatedly save Paris from diabolical masterminds. It takes a strange mind to retool the famous gothic character as the head of a sort of Victorian spoof of Charlie’s Angels but it results in an ingenious, firmly tongue-in-cheek read.

More of a collection of novellas than a novel, the book comprises five separate adventures that each take place ten years apart, starring a new trio of “Angels” each time - ranging from Sherlock Holmes’ Woman Irene Adler (the Angel of Larceny) to Pygmalion’s Eliza Doolittle (the Angel of Many Voices). With such a big cast, Newman gets the chance to pluck multiple forgotten fictional women from obscurity or give a subversive take on a familiar character. Either that, or return to his own creations from his other works e.g. investigative journalist Kate Reed, previously of his Anno Dracula and Diogenes Club books.

Apart from the Angels, each tale is drawn from a new batch of inspirations. Particularly of note is ‘The Mark of Kane’ which casts Orson Welles’ Charles Foster Kane as a Bond villain, forging an evil alliance with Mr Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s a great example of the thought gone into Newman’s writing: if all these characters existed in the same world, how would they interact and bounce off each other?

It is to Newman’s credit that he doesn’t lose himself in playing in the toybox of pre-existing characters and remembers to flesh the leads out accordingly. Thankfully, considering the premise of the book, his female characters are all “strong” – which here means that they are kick-ass and highly capable and whatnot, but are also well-rounded human beings with inner life as well. The standout is Irene Adler, who we meet at various stages of her life and get to know as far more than just Holmes’ rival.

On the whole, Angels of Music is a sharp-witted, thrilling and frequently hilarious read that is a must for aficionados of Victorian literature, classic movies or female-led spy fiction.

ANGELS OF MUSIC / AUTHOR: KIM NEWMAN / PUBLISHER: TITAN BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

 

Suggested Articles:
When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he created a legend. Practically everyone knows the story of the vam
Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series continues as the last in a collection of nineteen short stories t
Let’s be clear from the start. A Conjuring of Light, the much anticipated third and final novel in
Gwendolyn Bloom is a teenage schoolgirl who, ever since her mother was murdered, has spent her life
scroll back to top

Add comment

Security code
Refresh

Other articles in Book Reviews

POWERS OF DARKNESS 24 February 2017

ANNO DRACULA 1899 AND OTHER STORIES 24 February 2017

A CONJURING OF LIGHT 23 February 2017

THE SONG RISING 21 February 2017

PSEUDOTOOTH 21 February 2017

THE CRUELTY 20 February 2017

SLOW BULLETS 18 February 2017

THE NINTH RAIN 14 February 2017

THIS YOUNG MONSTER 14 February 2017

THE TIME MACHINE 13 February 2017

- Entire Category -

Sign up today!
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

      
      
 
 
 
...