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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (A Burton & Swinburne Adventure) Paperback – March 22, 2011
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"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a fun, imaginative steampunk novel. It's the second volume dealing with the adventures of Sir Francis Burton and his sidekick, the poet Algernon Swinebourne. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Jim Lester
This is the best of the series. I wish they al will have been as coherent as that one had been. The tenses get all mixed up sometimes. This one is a GREAT read!Published 2 months ago by Jiffyjiff
Remarkable combo of the fantastic and the historic. The Tichbourne case was one of the 19th century's greatest scandals, but to twist it in this manner is great. Read morePublished 9 months ago by P. Reilly
I wanted to like this book more. I love steampunk and had waded my way through his first book in this series, the Spring Heeled Jack book. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ralfk
Excellent book. Good philosophical perspective. Arrived on time and in good shape. Thanks.Published 19 months ago by kaghouse
This is an excellent book. It is full of action and adventure and still has an intelligent premiss. The characters are terrific as usual. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Neville Poindexter, Ph.D.