Third installment of what's settling in to become yet another interminable series (A Calculus of Angels, 1999, etc.). The eye-grabber here: in an alternate 17th century where science and alchemy both work, the world is threatened by insubstantial yet malevolent entities called Malakim. Sir Isaac Newton died defending Europe against a Malakim-orchestrated onslaught. London, meanwhile, was annihilated by a comet strike that's plunged North America into an ice age: Only young Ben Franklin and friends survive to resist the Malakim. A series that's wandered a long, long way from reality: Startling ideas, but a tough narrative slog.