Pros: Fun, silly light reading material
Cons: Fairly reader-dependent
Rating: 3 out of 5
In Alex Shvartsman’s H. G. Wells, Secret Agent, it’s an alternate history spy-vs-spy world, where all the truly brilliant inventors work for one government or another. Over the course of three short mysteries we meet a handful of recognizable named characters (Verne, for example), hear rumors of alien technology, see the Eiffel Tower made to hide a transmitter, and even see Freud round up a bunch of children to experiment on.
It’s a short, flighty sort of read that would be perfect when you’re on a bus or train and need to stay occupied for an hour or two. Here’s where I make the ‘personality-dependent’ argument: it didn’t really pull me in, and the humor, while good, wasn’t enough to offset that. However, there’ll be plenty of people for whom a little light steampunk spy humor would be perfect. Now that you know that, you should have a better idea of whether you’ll like the book or not. At the moment it seems to be inexpensive on Amazon, so I’d say the price is right. There’s nothing deep and the characters don’t have a lot to them, but again that’ll be just what some readers want.