Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell
This is absolutely bonkers, in the best possible way. The genre is fairly unclassifiable, but let’s say Cyber/SteamPunk/SciFi with a dash of alternative history thrown in, not to mention a titular hero who is a heavy drinking, smoking, WWII RAF ace pilot… and a macaque. This Ack-Ack Macaque is also a real cybernetically enhanced monkey unwittingly plugged into and providing the AI for a popular World War II simulation game.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a fantastic journalist named Victoria Valois (already part-cybernetic), who has her soul stolen, and uploads a backup copy of her murdered ex-husband’s soul to her own brain so they can have a chat. And there are zeppelins!
Both Victoria and Ack-Ack are brilliant characters, and the plot zips along at breakneck speed. Once I had got about a quarter of the way into this book, I couldn’t put it down, and I want to read more in the series.
My one and only complaint concerns the cover which is in no way the author’s fault. It’s a great cover, but it depicts Ack-Ack as a chimpanzee, not a macaque, as he clearly is in the text. I’m a biologist, and this bothered me WAY more than it should have done!