It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be....
Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king's agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.
When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection - black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times. His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he's the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he's not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare.
From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from seances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Can the king's agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play?
Burton and Swinburne's second adventure, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, is filled with eccentric steam-driven technology, grotesque characters, and a deepening mystery that pushes forward the three-volume story arc begun in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack.
Listen to more in the Burton & Swinburne series.
©2011 Mark Hodder (P)2011 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
Clockwork Man picks up shortly after the end of Hodder’s first alternate-history, steampunk mystery and provides an if-not-better-then-equally-enjoyable adventure. I couldn’t wait to get to this after listening to the first book. Gerard Doyle once again does an incredible job jumping between multiple foreign accents as well as English dialects common to 1860s London. The main characters are more fleshed out here, and we get closer to some of the ancillary folks from the first book. There are very few slow moments throughout the book, and we really get a sense of how everything plays into the overall story arc of the trilogy (Unless there’s going to be a fourth book. Please tell me there’s a fourth book). There’s some horror, some philosophy, some mystery, some time travel, some mind-control, some clairvoyance, and oh yeah, zombies. Dandy, aristocratic zombies. Awesome.
This series has made me laugh out loud in pure enjoyment. This author has a wonderfully twisted imagination and I am looking forward to his next book - it's already set up on my Ipod. Gerald Doyle is one of my favorite narrators and if you haven't listened to any of his narrations - Please do so right away.
The story moved quickly and kept my interest. The plot was often a real problem.
Try to limit the number of themes in the story. Concentrate on developing better female characters.
Gerard Doyle was excellent! His attention to accents and differentiating the characters kept Victorian Britain in my mind while I listened.
My first exposure to the Steam-punk genre was "The Difference Engine". It was a good combination of science fiction and alternate history. I've wanted to sample similar story lines and "The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man" is one foray.
I found myself liking the story in spite of itself. The pace moves quickly and the narration is excellent, really the most enjoyable part of the experience. The worst part, sorry to say, is the plot. It's a mash-up of fantasy, very little science in the fiction, and lurid horror with a cast of characters from history that bear little resemblance to the actual people of the same names. If you are in any way a skeptic of woo-woo metaphysics, be prepared to sit down with a stiff brandy before diving into this tale. Having said that, the writing and narration were good enough that I forced myself several times to suspend disbelief and just go along for the ride. And a good ride it is!
The story begins in the fractured time line caused in the first book after a traveler from the future disrupts not only history, but quite evidently the natural laws of the universe. Charles Darwin, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Charles Babbage and a host of other Victorian science and engineering greats are recast as ambitious mad scientists. The results we see in "The Clockwork Man" is science and technology run amok with the paranormal soon to follow. Soon we discover that mesmerism really works, psychics and mediums become evil wizards and witches, magic crystals cause mayhem and an evil spell turns rioters first into cannibals and then into zombies!
The main characters of Burton and Swinburne are well developed as are many of the secondary actors. There are no well developed female characters, which is a shame given the number of places in the story where they could have been. Except for Madame Blavatsy, a self-promoting medium and fraud in real life who plays the part of the wicked witch in this story, none of the other women have anything other than supporting roles.
I did enjoy the story in spite of its shortcomings. If you enjoy steam-punk and fantasy, you will probably like it also.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
The twist in history that started in book 1 was so inventive. The way everything starts to come together is so exciting and very satisfying.
The times when Swinburne kept getting mesmerized and in order to block it he had to drink. I am sure that was very hard for him but duty to the throne and all. Lol
When he talks about the characters or for the characters you can feel what is going on with each one. Plus I love his voice I could listen to it all say.
Trust me I tried to listen at one time. Actually I would have listened to all three books in one sitting if I could. I just bought book 1 because I was curious about Steampunk genre. Then I couldn't wait to get book two. I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown when I got to part two of the download and it was not there due to a bug in audible app which is fixed now.
I can't wait to hear book 3 and I hope they have more.
Not necessarily. If I like a book on tape I will often also read it as a novel. Listening first makes the novel easier to visualize and to move through the story.
Burton of course - The author makes him a real person albeit one with extraordinary capabilities but very vulnerable and human emotions. His blatant character flaws balance out so some of the incredible (maybe even hard to believe) physical accomplishments .
He is pretty good at reading different characters. Not the best but he definitley adds to helping keep the story clear. I haven't had any problem with following the story and the characters.
Creative book with clever weaving of ideas and staying true to the story. This type of SciFi literature could quickly get away and become ridiculous but Hodder keeps his characters and story grounded.
Oh up in top 10...his other books are in same top 10.
Seemless alternative world. Characters with muliple levels.
Anything to do Swinburne.
The increasing tension as story arc builds.
Great narrator, good pacing.
Mark Hodder has really created a fantastic world with his Burton and Swinburne Series. As a fan of RFB for both his real life exploits, and his fictional ones (see Riverworld Series), I am always interested whenever I see his name in a book description.
I have listened to both books of this series, and have enjoyed them both. However, I think the narrator of this series, Gerard Doyle, really brings this world alive. As such, I think the performance actually outmatches the story. I'll be interested in book 3, but if a different reader is used, probably less interested.
The flow of the story was like water in the river, easy to understand; but complex enough to keep you listen!!!
Too many good parts for me to just have one:-)
The characters reactions to each other in a serious but funny way.
See my review on his first book for my overall thoughts on the series.
But, this book was also another great addition to the steampunk genre. Genius use of Characters and Dialogue. And the Narrator is officially another favorite of mine!
This was a great installment in the Burton and Swinburne series. It faithfully and strongly follows Springheeled Jack by crafting the world and the culture so brilliantly. Additionally I thought there was a feeling that time, long and short, was always an enemy with a strong feeling of urgency controlling the pace.
My only issue was in the reading it seemed like there were a lot of mistakes in naming characters. Several times Burton would reply to Burton in a Swinburne voice and the like. One proof listening would solve this as it hit pretty hard on the ears, but other than that it was a great listen.
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