The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack

22 Sep

I am not a reader of Steampunk fiction, at least, I wasn’t until I came across “The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack” by Mark Hodder.

“The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack” is the first investigation by King’s Agent, Sir Richard Burton and his assistant, Algernon Charles Swinburne.  Mark Hodder sets out a wonderful alternative Victorian landscape where Albert is King after his wife’s assassination, and technology rules Britannia.

The novel is a wonderful tale of alternate history and time travel with a robust and delightful cast of characters.  Burton and Swinburne have an almost Holmes/Watson touch to them, or perhaps, given their particular vices, a touch of Moriarty/Moran may be more accurate,

I found the book enchanting, and delightfully humourous in many places.  The foul-mouthed messenger parakeets are hysterical.

On a darker note, the book is something of a cautionary tale of the dangers of technology allowed to run rampant with no thought to morals and ethics.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend “The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack” to anyone who enjoys Steampunk, alternate history, or just a riotous romp of a yarn.

 

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