The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton and Swinburne Series #2)

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton and Swinburne Series #2)

4.4 10
by Mark Hodder
     
 

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Mark Hodder's second Burton & Swinburne steampunk adventure, following the acclaimed The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and a deepening mystery. When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon

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Overview

Mark Hodder's second Burton & Swinburne steampunk adventure, following the acclaimed The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and a deepening mystery. When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times. From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from séances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons. Can the king's agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The alternate Victorian London of Hodder's latest fantasy is stuffed with eccentricities: each fascinating in itself, but adding up eventually to a slightly stultifying overabundance (not to mention Hodder's tendency toward painful puns, like the "Folk's Wagon" made out of an actual Beetle). Mercifully these fade into the background as the plot kicks into high gear with explorer Richard Burton and his sidekick, masochistic poet Swinburne, sleuth out the truth behind a bewildering conspiracy of rakes, technologists, psychics, black diamonds, time travelers, and a butcher claiming to be an aristocrat. The investigation also leads the protagonists to different countries. Hodder handles these cross-cultural encounters surprisingly well. Furthermore, the overarching theme of being stuck down a wrong turn in history adds a touch of atmosphere both ominous and bittersweet. Ultimately though, the many characters, places, plot twists and turns fail to work together to keep the reader's attention. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
Praise for the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Burton & Swinburne books:

"The usual superlatives for really clever fantasy (imaginative, mind-bending, phantasmagorical) aren't nearly big enough for this debut novel. With this one book, Hodder has put himself on the genre map."
-Booklist, starred review of The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack

"Hodder, with an encyclopedic grasp of period detail, tellingly brings these disparate, oddly familiar yet eerily different worlds to fecund life. Enthralling, dizzying, and as impressive as they come."
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Every once in a while I come across a book, or series of books, that totally yanks the carpet out from under me. Then it reaches out, smashes me in the face with its awesomeness, and says, 'You love me!' Leaving me with naught to do but obligingly respond, 'Yes. Yes I do.' [The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man] was every bit the book that I had hoped it would be."
-Elitist Book Reviews

"Whatever one chooses to call [The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack], it would be very difficult to deny its overwhelming brilliance. 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."
-Rob Will Review

Library Journal
Sir Richard Burton, the king's agent, and Algernon Swinburne, his companion and intellectual foil, realize that the course of their world has been altered because something has tampered with time. The discovery of a clockwork automaton in Trafalgar Square, the search for the missing Garnier collection of black diamonds, the media surrounding the grotesque person who claims to be the heir to the cursed Tichborne Estate, and the threat of class warfare in Victorian England confront the pair as they fight to right the history of the world and avert a shattering war. In this sequel to The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, Hodder continues the entertaining adventures of Burton and Swinburne as he depicts a bizarrely engrossing steampunk England in 1862 and introduces period notables, including Herbert Spencer, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Babbage. VERDICT Hodder knows Victorian history well enough to take delightful liberties in a darkly humorous adventure that should appeal to genre fans as well as those interested in alternate histories.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781907777028
Publisher:
Snowbooks
Publication date:
03/28/2011
Series:
Burton and Swinburne Series, #2

Meet the Author

Mark Hodder is the author of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack—winner of the Philip K. Dick Award 2010—and its sequel, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. He's the creator and caretaker of the Blakiana website (http://www.sextonblake.co.uk), which he designed to celebrate, record, and revive Sexton Blake, the most written-about fictional detective in English publishing history. A former BBC writer, editor, journalist, and Web producer, Mark has worked in all the new and traditional medias and was based in London for most of his working life until 2008, when he relocated to Valencia in Spain to de-stress and write novels. He has a degree in cultural studies and loves British history (1850 to 1950, in particular), good food, cutting-edge gadgets, cult TV (ITC forever!), Tom Waits, and a vast assortment of oddities.

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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 10 reviews.
his_wayward_child More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sequel to Springheeled Jack is entertaining and remarkable. His lobster supper dream world of a Steampunk Victorian England is ripe with cleverness and tightness of imaginative thinking. Readers of this genre are lucky. Hodder plays with time like a maestro. Recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
colemania More than 1 year ago
If you didn't read the first book in this series, "The Curious Case of Springheeled Jack" don't attempt this book. Their are too many references to things you wouldn't understand. Having said that this is fascinating story although it can often be difficult to keep up with Mr. Hodder's twists & turns. I believe this is the genre now referred to as "Steampunk."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In sort of 1862 in Trafalgar Square, someone abandons a clockwork brass man. The King's agent Sir Richard Francis Burton and his sidekick poet Algernon Swinburne investigate as the object is linked to the stolen Garnier Collection of black diamonds thought to be from the Lemurian Eye of Naga meteorite. Their inquiry leads to the Tichborne Claimant. A man claims that he is wealthy heir Roger Tichborne, who allegedly died at sea. Burton investigates this Tichborne while rioting amongst the lower class has broken out tied to this grotesque odd individual; anyone who knew the aristocrat before he was lost at sea would never recognize him as this claimant. However this Tichborne pretender in spite of one syllable one word droning responses somehow has the support of the angry lower class. The case turns crazier than time changing as Burton and Swinburne begin to connect dots of an insidious scheme that threatens the Empire and their sanity. The sequel to The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is a terrific alternative historical thriller that is anchored by real nineteenth century persona like Florence Nightingale and Charles Doyle. Burton is a wonderful protagonist who knows destiny tilted as he remains haunted by some nefarious things he did. Herbert Spencer is a key character helping the lead duo stay focused on deciphering the clues of what increasingly appears is a plan to set the sun forever on the British Empire. Although it pays to read Spring Heeled Jack first as that sets the table, the Clockwork Man is more than just a middle book as adventures of Burton and Swinburne keep on occurring while time is running out on them. Harriet Klausner