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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton & Swinburne) Paperback – March 22, 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton & Swinburne) + Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburne) + The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne)
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Product Details

  • Series: Burton & Swinburne
  • Paperback: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Pyr (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616143592
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616143596
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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

About 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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By J. Wiles Parker VINE VOICE on February 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following on The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, Richard Burton and his trusted sidekick Algernon Swinburne are tasked with once again discovering the truth in The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder. As with the first book, the author steeps this volume in as much alternate history as speculative fiction that leads to a rousing tale of intrigue, adventure, and tremendous peril.

Joined by the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Burton and Swinburne, along with several trusted allies, must get to the bottom of the Tichborne Affair. Someone claims to be Roger Tichborne, once lost at sea, heir to the Tichborne estate, but Burton believes otherwise. Tasked by the Prime Minister to get to the bottom of the affair, Burton discovers there is much more at stake than just a cursed estate. The people are rioting, the lower class calling for the undoing of the upper class, and it seems the grotesquely large Tichborne claimant has more than just persuasive powers on his side. To further complicate matters, Burton and Swinburne find themselves up against more than just physical foes as they have to fight their own minds in order to survive.

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man follows nicely on Spring Heeled Jack. Burton and Swinburne are as opposed in disposition as in the previous book, but just as brave as well. The addition of Herbert Spencer as a character is a pleasent surprise as he proves to be both wise and helpful, in particular when least expected. Burton for his part is tormented from time to time by past events and visions of the future.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick St-Denis on May 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Mark Hodder's take on steampunk in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack was so fresh and entertaining, I couldn't wait to read the sequel. Pretty much in the same vein, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man is another fun read!

Once again, it's not easy to label this book. It is steampunk, no question about it. But much like its predecessor, it is much more than that. There are alternate history/alternate reality elements imbuing every single page of this work. The time-traveling facet brings an unmistakable science fiction touch. If you add to that various fantastical elements, once more you've got yourself an inventive melting pot of speculative fiction staples that should intrigue and satisfy genre readers everywhere.

As expected, Hodder captured the essence of this pseudo-Victorian Age perfectly with its myriad mannerisms and nuances. His colorful narrative once again creates an imagery that brings this tale to life. The dialogues remain witty and engaging, with most of the cast from The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack returning for Act 2.

The characterization remains my favorite aspect of this second installment. Sir Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Charles Swinburne are well-defined characters, with the latter getting more fleshed out in this sequel. Most of the men and women that comprised the supporting cast in the first volume return and are as endearing a bunch of protagonists as you're likely to find, chief among them Constable William Trounce. New faces are added to the mix, keeping things fresh. Even better, the presence of many historical figures such as Oscar Wilde, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and especially Herbert Spencer, add a little something extra to an already satisfying reading experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 1, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you grew up reading comic books, transitioned to Doc Savage and Edgar Rice Burroughs, then you will enjoy The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Well written, it has great characters, excellent dialogue and works in curious versions of famous historical figures albeit in forms you may not recognize. But this is to be expected with a time twisted universe.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Pietersen VINE VOICE on March 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd read and enjoyed Mark Hodders first novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and was curious to see if his second would be as good. He didn't disappoint.
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man continues in "Steampunk Victoriana" with the escapades of Sir Richard Francis Burton, his assistant Algernon Charles Swinburne and few of the other characters from Spring Heeled Jack.
The adventures and action are all equal to the "ripping yarns" used in the first novel but he seems to have found his pace in this second book. The characters seem to have a little more gravitas and the pace of the story flows a lot smoother. The attention to detail, descriptions of the new technologies and inventions bring the imagined London into a full colour visualization.
The disruption of history caused by the misadventures in Spring Heeled Jack are discussed in this book and have relevance to the direction of other European governments, with arms races and industrial espionage.
There will no doubt be a third novel in this series, as was hinted towards the end of this book - I'm looking forward to more adventures from Burton & Swinburne.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Randy Stafford VINE VOICE on July 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'll tread lightly in describing this book so as not to spoil Hodder's grotesque, sometimes humorous, mix of messed up history, altered Victorian notables, occultism, and marvels of steam-powered and genetic engineering. I will say there are plenty of marvels apart from those listed in the book's description.

If you're new to Hodder, you can jump into the series with this book. In fact, the only flaw in the book is Hodder's courtesy in getting the reader unfamiliar with the preceding volume, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne in), up to speed slows things a bit. Even if you haven't read the third and last volume in the series (which I have), it's clear this is an important link in the story with the conclusion foreshadowing what is to come in the third book. Again, Hodder provides an afterword covering most of the violence he's done to our nineteenth century timeline.

I didn't like this book quite as well as its predecessor just because I didn't find the titular clockwork man and the controversy (taken from actual history) of the Tichborne claimant quite as interesting as the Spring Heeled Jack legend, but, if you love complicated stories with lots of interesting asides, this is the book for you.

And the cover is pretty snazzy on this one too.
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