Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack Hardback
by Mark Hodder
Part of the Burton & Swinburne series
It is 1861, and Albertian Britain is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy. Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as 'King's Spy'. His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured former friend, John Hanning Speke. Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton's investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn't exist at all.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 320 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: Snowbooks Ltd
- Publication Date: 05/04/2010
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9781906727505
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by joenba7
Wanting to try something new, a colleague of mine recommended this book, defining it as steampunk. First time reading that type of book, and I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. The amount of steampunk in the book isn't that great, and I found myself struggling with 2/3 of the book. At that point things became interesting, but struggling through the first 2/3 was a nightmare. I enjoyed the last part, more interested in the story of Spring-Heeled Jack, rather than Sir Richard Burton.All in all, a well written book, but for a fantasy-person such as me, simply not interesting enough.
Review by wyvernfriend
Not bad but it felt like the author was trying too hard to be clever.In an Albertian rather than Victorian England Engineers make noisy technology; Eugenicists develop animals for particular purposes; Libertines oppose rigidity and support creativity while the Rakes try to outdo each other in liberal actions.Into this world comes Richard Francis Burton, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman. He's employed by the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston as King's Spy, to investigate Spring Heeled Jack, and he gets caught up in a lot of strange going's on.It wasn't a bad read but it didn't leave me wanting more. Oh and really, Oscar Wilde as a paper-boy, not very probable at all, there was no real reason for that.Burton is an interesting character but there were times when some of the interjections felt like they were there to be clever about the characters and their actual history rather than important to the story.