Burton and Swinburne return in a new series! The Beast is coming. History will be remade. Since the assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840, a cabal of prominent men - including King George V, HRH Prince Albert, Benjamin Disraeli, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel - has received guidance from the afterlife. The spirit of a dead mystic, Abdu El Yezdi, has helped them to steer the empire into a period of unprecedented peace and creativity. But on the eve of a groundbreaking alliance with the newly formed Greater German Confederation, scientists, surgeons, and engineers are being abducted - including Brunel! The government, in search of answers, turns to the afterlife, only to find that Abdu El Yezdi is now refusing to speak with the living. Enter the newly knighted Sir Richard Francis Burton, fresh from his discovery of the source of the Nile. Appointed the king's agent, he must trace the missing luminaries and solve the mystery of Abdu El Yezdi's silence. But the Beast has been summoned. How can the famous explorer fulfill his mission when his friends and loved ones are being picked off, one by one, by what appears to be a supernatural entity - by, perhaps, Abdu El Yezdi himself?
©2013 Mark Hodder (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
This is by far my favorite series. You can listen to the book even if you didn't listen to the others. If you have read the others you will know what I mean when I say it takes place after and before the trilogy. This is classic steam punk and what steam punk is all about. I am going to get very deep here but don't let that scare you away from listening to this book. And listen you must because Gerard Doyle is fantastic. Anyway, steam punk imagines a world that went a different direction, it denies religion while embracing all religions. It shows the great things technology can bring and the great price we pay. It embraces Darwinism while it cannot deny creation. This series asks the question of fate vs free will but cannot answer it. Burton and Swinburne find themselves in alternate universes created by the choices people make, including their choices. Also there is a lot of great shout outs to historical figures. Sorry about getting so deep but I was just so moved and excited by the book. It is also a very fun adventure, steam punk, alternative reality romp. Also did i mention there was vampires which are very hot right now.Although the book was 15 hrs, it was not long enough. Every minute was filled with some kind of emotion, Happy sad thrilled. Although I am going back to listen to all four again, this story is contained in the book so you can listen to it right now.Although, you will want to listen to all because they are all fabulous.
I thought book 3 of the series had to be the end so finding a book 4 available really surprised me. I took a quick look at some the reviews and decided to take a chance. "The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi" turned out to be my second favorite of the series (I think the first was the best overall despite some "first novel" glitches). I've always liked variations on a theme and the author was able to spin out some great ones in this book. His writing technique has improved over the years and but his ability to weave alternate history (alternate histories of alternate histories?) with steampunk remains as fresh as ever.
The narration also remained strong. I am a picky listener when it comes of hokey or overblown accents so I appreciate Gerald Doyle's expertise with them.
The first two books were interesting, the third was out of sequence. This one was very difficult to get into, Some of the historical character references are a bit much, I.e. Bram Stoker.
I found this wasn't nearly as entertaining as the ministry of peculiar occurrences series.
these books never fail to entertain. I recommend them highly for thirty tight storytelling and excellent historical fiction plotting.
Swinburne & Burton are an amazing team. It is quite impossible to tell why it is so special. The characters are predictable, but they are predictable in a sense where they become so special that it simply works.
The entire setup is very cliche. The men smoke cigars and play billiard in one room while the women debate how to be the best housewife in the other...
... but the story behind each of these characters is just so deep and exiting that you are sucked into this wonderful universe. Mark Hodder has really done something special with the series, and even though it seemed impossible to continue the story after the last one he still did it.
And Gerard Doyle is an amazing narrator. He can do all the voices so you "see" the characters right in front of you, their hope, despair. You feel their loves, pains and problems.
How on earth Mark Hodder "invented" Swinburne I do not know, but he did, and I am grateful. My favorite character by far.
"hit the reboot button again"
As ever a great narration of the story with fantastic voice characterisation. The story follows on from the previous books; and yet does not at all. A lot of questions from previous books are answered and more are asked. The infinite possibilities that the stories can now explore leave you thinking about the stories and characters long after you unplug your ipod.
The graveyard scene at the end.
Meeting Swinburne all over again
The graveyard scene at the end.
Whilst the possible repercussions of the events in the London park are infinite and offer a bewildering range of outcomes and futures for our hero I really hope that at some point there is some final closure for Burton and that he can settle as an ambassador to Limpopo or wherever and the natural order is restored.
"Brilliant rendered steam punk world"
Swinburne is a brilliant character, brave, eccentric, witty and child like in his wonder without being childish
His narration of this series is the best narration of any audiobook I've heard, I just look the voices he uses for his characters particularly the two leading men. The voice he uses for Sir Richard is deep and rich and I could listen to it forever. I only wish he narrated other books in the same voice.
Yes, when one of the characters dies, I rarely get choked up listening to books but that scene really moved me.
The Swinburne/Burton series are clever and thought provoking. You cannot really listen to them in isolation as you would lose so much of the history and time twisting. It always takes me a little while to become immersed into their world again but once there I don't want to leave.
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