Africa, 1863. Sir Richard Francis Burton, an explorer, a linguist, a scholar, and the king's agent - or is he a puppet being manipulated by forces he cannot understand? A race to find the source of the Nile! Algernon Charles Swinburne - a famous young flame-haired poet, thrill-seeker, and follower of the Marquis de Sade. For him, pain is pleasure, and brandy is ruin! Back to where the adventure began!
It is 1863, but not the one it should be. Time has veered wildly off course, and moves are being made that will lead to a devastating world war. Prime Minister Lord Palmerston believes that by possessing the three Eyes of Naga he'll be able to manipulate events and avoid the war. He already has two of the stones, but he needs Sir Richard Francis Burton to recover the third. For the king's agent, it's a chance to return to the Mountains of the Moon to make a second attempt at locating the source of the Nile. But a rival expedition led by John Hanning Speke stands in his way, threatening a confrontation that could ignite the very war that Palmerston is trying to avoid!
Caught in a tangled web of cause, effect, and inevitability, little does Burton realize that the stakes are far higher than even he suspects. A final confrontation comes in London, where, in the year 1840, Burton must face the man responsible for altering time—Spring Heeled Jack!
Burton and Swinburne's third adventure completes the three-volume story arc begun in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack and The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man.
Listen to more in the Burton & Swinburne series.
©2011 Mark Hodder (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I'm an Audible editor, and I think this quote sums it up: "A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character." - Daniel Day-Lewis
In the words of our hero, Sir Richard Francis Burton, “Bismillah!” This book was...not as good as the first two. I hate to say it. It hurts me to say it. I loved the other books so much that I couldn’t imagine where the third could even go. I was giddy. But rather than stomp around England, we spend ~75% of the book traveling from England to the Arabian peninsula to eastern Africa to the mysterious Mountains of the Moon, and maybe 10% dealing with what happens when we actually get there. There’s plenty of action, but also a lot of repetition.
And when we finally get to the end, it just falls a little short. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe the author had a tough time wrapping up his myriad storylines into one discreet package. I was disappointed, because I wanted to love this one as much as the others. All that being said, I would still recommend the trilogy to everyone and anyone. Narrator Gerard Doyle, you are my hero.
The performance is excellent, and the book is very well-written and colorful, which is why I gave it so many stars. However, it has serious problems.
- The overall plot lacks the fun and adventure of the previous books.
- Africa seems so horrible, I don't know why anyone would want to go there. It makes the explorers seem totally barmy. It's also not much fun to read about bugs and ulcers and watch the horses die one by one.
- Bad thing after bad thing happens, with no relief (except the parakeets), making for a tiring listening experience.
- The author switches focus to the Eugenecists and their plant machines. That's fine, except... they are impossible. It isn't genetics that keeps a tree from reaching 30' maturity in 2 days, it's plain old physics. I could ignore the tech-y impossibilities, imagining they found some way around it (Fornby coal), but the existence of the plant-things broke my suspension of disbelief repeatedly.
- All the female characters in this series have 2 purposes: Serve the hero's supper, and/or die for the hero. Really? In 2012? We can do better.
- The ending. Without giving anything away, I can tell you that it is a complete non-ending. Nothing is resolved. Also, disappointingly cliche.
Reading back, it does sound like I hated the book. I ... guess I did. Thing is, I know myself and I know that I object strongly to things many people actually like. For example, I hate Game of Thrones for most of the same reasons (grim, dark, women are stupid, animals are abused and killed, everyone dies). I think, if you can enjoy books despite, or because of, unrelentingly grim storylines, then you will probably enjoy this book.
Ending still stinks, though.
SPOILER-ISH WARNING: (Lots of characters die here, so brace yourself, or don't read it if that kind of thing ruins a book for you.)
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
This trilogy was so great it started out as an adventure turned into a mystery and then ended up a statement on fate vs destiny. Nature vs Nurture in its extreme form. Do the choices we make just change us or theworld. What started out as light fantasy became very deep thought provoking novel on the meaning of it all.
The whole trilogy came full circle and now I have to listen to it all over. Do the choices we make change our fate or are they just different choices that take us down the same path. Burton and Swinburne will never know.
I love gerard Doyles voice I can and did Listen to it night and day. I feel like I felt everything the characters felt. with all of my senses. This trilogy is exciting, funny, thought provoking and at last heartbreaking.
The more things change the more they stay the same.
I am a huge audible listener with over 70 books in my library. This trilogy by Mark Hodder is so far is my favorite listen.
I think even Mark Hodder could agree that these Characters and their steampunk adventure could have gone on for several more books. The only reason I gave this story four stars is because it was too much information in one book, it was hard to keep up! But, it needed an ending and he tied most everything together.
See my review on the first book for my overall thoughts of the series.
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