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Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps? While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Sir Richard Francis Burton: explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman; his reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead.

Algernon Charles Swinburne: unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade; for whom pain is pleasure, and brandy is ruin! They stand at a crossroads in their lives and are caught in the epicenter of an empire torn by conflicting forces: engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labor; libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity; while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behavior to the limits with magic, drugs, and anarchy. The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London's East End.

Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age - and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn't exist at all! Good: -- a sweeping vision of steampunk fantasy with a whole range of technologies and factions clashing amidst 'stiff upper lip' Victorian England -- characters are fun and well rounded for this kind of fiction -- does a surprisingly good job at both tying up the plot lines of this particular story and simultaneously establishing characters and plot lines for the the follow on books -- good narration Bad -- didn't bother me much but it may bother some: this is steampunk fantasy.

It's not just an alternate technological development line, it's the s with things that couldn't be done today. In fact some of the tech is probably just impossible, or at least 50 years out from now, but Victorians are being it with wood and brass. If this bothers you, large chunks of this book, especially the last third, will really grate on you -- similarly, while the coverage of Victorian speech patterns and mannerisms is often a strength of the book, the speechifying in the action sequences again in the last third is just ridiculous.

It's kind of like professional wrestling where you have to listen to a lot of nonsensical talking to set up a fight and then during the fight people will just stop to talk and showboat for awhile because it fits their character as opposed to making any sense at all. Not just stabbed in one thigh but in both thighs? For some time I have been looking for a book that could live up to the possibilities presented by the steampunk genre and have largely been disappointed.


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  • Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack;

While books such as Perdido Street station, Terminal World and Boneshaker have all had promise each one has failed to to both convey the technology and culture of a steampunk world while also being a good story in regards to the fundamentals of storytelling such as narrative flow and relatable characters. The curious case of Spring Heeled Jack however is THE book that steampunks have been looking for and the perfect introduction to those new to the genre. It is both original and historical, filled with fantastic machines and creatures on par with the best alien worlds of fiction.

There are characters of surprising depth and exciting action scenes both all set in an alternate "victorian" era. Unlike most alternate history fiction the changes in history here are not merely to suite the authors convenance but are an actual result of the story itself making this not so much an alternative history as it is a time travel epic.

It manages to be fanciful without being too bizarre to relate to and unlike many authors of this genre this author remembers that no matter how interesting the world you create may be the characters must be the foundation of the story if we are to care at all about the plot.

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The story unfolds first from the perspective of an man hired to investigate some of the stranger happenings in what from our perspective is a radically changed and bizarre world and then later from the point of view of a man from our future trying to deal with his own past and the changes that occurred to the timeline. It is in this second part of the story that this book truly shines when we listen with growing horror and fascination to the sequence of events that have lead to a 19th century england so different from our own.

Any fan of time travel will love this story and the classic paradoxes it copes with as will anyone who has studied the social and scientific changes of the victorian era and wondered, "what if" At last steampunks have a book they can be proud to recommend as an example of the genre without an excuses or caveats to the fantasy or sci-fi fan.

Gerard Doyle's ability to flawlessly define every character and give them unmistakable personality was a pleasure.

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The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton and Swinburne Series #1) Mark Hodder

The clever story gives steampunk a reason to exist central to the plot and chases it's own tail through all three books! Who was your favorite character and why? Richard Francis Burton, the genius adventurer is the picture of the african explorer! He is an honorable man of action! His characterizations add a dimension to the characters that transcend the written word.

Edward Oxford & the ballad of Spring Heeled Jack, by The Bookshop Band. Inspired by Mark Hodder.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you? Yes, it was a wonderful epiphany. Any additional comments? Thus making it relevant to the world we live in. Steampunk is all the rage nowadays. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack seizes the trend in an intriguingly weird story that turns history on its head, thanks to the inept bungling of a time-traveler who, in our world, was one of the most notorious urban legends of Victorian England.

I am not really a huge fan of steampunk. Actually, to put it bluntly, I think most steampunk is stupid, an excuse to mix corsets and Anglophilia with science fiction. But I enjoyed this book a lot. It's rip-roarin' well-plotted adventure, with a fine attention to historical detail if not scientific plausibility.


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  4. There are lots of things Mark Hodder does right. His alt-history is a colorful blend of historical figures and fanciful inventions. It's not science, it's Science!

    ISBN 13: 9781906727208

    When a time traveler from the 22nd century goes back in time to , the date on which year-old Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria, he inadvertently causes the assassination to succeed. The changes that result from Victoria's death are not merely the loss of "Victorian" England, but a 19th century England in which Technologists build ornithopters and geothermal power stations and air trains, while eugenicists engineer messenger dogs and parakeets, house-cleaning cats, and elephantine horses.

    Meanwhile, Libertines and Rakes are rival factions preaching a complete overthrow of the social order. Mesmerism and other "magical" practices are real, and genetic engineering on humans is beginning. Adventuring, two-fisted pulp style, in this steampunk bizarro world are the famous explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton and the poet Algernon Swinburne. Burton crosses the sinister time-traveling "Spring Heeled Jack," thus becoming ensnared in his calamitous attempts to unscrew history. The use of actual historical figures is cleverly done. According to 19th century lore, Spring Heeled Jack was some sort of diabolical deviant, running around England sexually assaulting women by tearing their clothes off.

    Hodder actually comes up with a logical explanation for "Jack's" behavior, and for how the loon could be a time traveler. I also appreciated his use of historical personages and events. Edward Oxford was a real person, and his attempted assassination of Queen Victoria is a historical fact; Hodder makes strange fiction out of it. I was particularly amused at the eeeeeeevil evolutionists being led by spoilers removed.

    There was no insertion of overtly fictional characters — i. It's almost like a bent world that might have been. That said, this book gets 4 stars for story and content, 3 stars for writing. I suppose some of the writing tics that bugged me may have been a deliberate attempt to emulate the writing style of Victorian pulp adventures, hence Sir Richard Burton constantly being referred to as "the King's agent.

    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack - Mark Hodder

    Entertaining as heck, but lazy. Hodder is a great storyteller, and the pace never flagged, even during the monologues, but the plotting was sloppy. And like most steampunk settings, there's a lot of suspension of disbelief required, since steampunk cyborgs, talking orangutans, and genetically-engineered housepets are not a logical consequence of killing Queen Victoria, even with a time traveler letting slip a few hints about the future to inquisitive 19th century scientists.

    Still, accept that history has been kicked onto its side and anything goes, and the plot flows right along. A great read for any fan of steampunk, an entertaining read for fans of historicals who don't mind fantasy. Then it reaches out, smashes me in the face with its awesomeness, and says, 'You love me! Yes I do. I can't remember the last time a novel has surprised, awed, and enthused me so utterly that I'm almost left at a loss for words for how to recommend it. Buy at Local Store.

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