Wonders will never cease. The marvelous Mark Charan Newton, author of "Villjamur", read "Triumff", and liked it so much that he has written a few words to inspire others to read it too. What a very fine chap he is. Take it away Mr Newton.
Enough has been said about the plot already, so what I most of all want to add is this:
I hate Dan Abnett.
Why? Because having proved himself the king of noir-infused miltary SF, it takes quite a talent to move easily to something completely different - and this really is a triumffant leap in style. Such transitions really are difficult to pull off, and you would have thought that he's been writing books like this for the past decade.
Our foppish lead, Sir Rupert, heads on a rip-snorter of a ride across a steampunk alternate London that blends historical truth with the wonderfully bizarre. Half the time pissed, the rest getting down and dirty in duels (though the two are not mutually exclusive), this unlikely hero heads on the trail of Occult Goings On of the highest order. Whilst it's chock-full of nods-of-the-head to the finest of Culture and Art and History, it doesn't come over as pretentious – because most of all, "Triumff" is a great slice of British fun.
Anyway, back to the prose, which is the most entertaining aspect: Dan's style here is the bastard-son of, say, Scott Lynch and Tim Powers and all that's best of Blackadder. The depiction of the cityscape is a brew of heady descriptions, and written with a vast and esoteric vocabulary. And the humour is delivered with a wry smile that will have you guffawing boisterously from your armchair.
What's especially annoying, though, is that this pesky Abnett chap makes such a change of gear in writing and storytelling look so damn easy.