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Publisher's Summary

Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman. His reputation has been tarnished, his career is in tatters, and his former partner is missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne is an unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade, for whom pain is pleasure and brandy is ruin. They stand at a crossroads in their lives, and are caught in the epicentre of an empire torn by conflicting forces: Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier, and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; and Libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity, while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, drugs, and anarchy.

The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum, when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack, and to find out why werewolves are terrorizing London's East End. Their investigations lead them to one of the defining events of the age, and the terrifying possibility that the world they inhabit shouldn’t exist at all.

©2010 Mark Hodder (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 07-05-12

bloody brilliant

Wow. What a story, what a series!!

Mark Hodder spins a brilliant yarn. He winds real historical characters into a complex evolving steampunk tale of time and fantastic technology in a world where Victoria doesn’t survive an assassins bullet. This is the first book in a series of three and it’s a ride all the way to the finish. Nothing here is obvious and the twists kept me on the edge of my Galaxy S3 until the last paragraph. Get the series and shut yourself away for the weekend.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great world, dumb characters

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not so much.
The world is greatly conceived, the idea of using real-life characters (Victorian explorers, engineers etc.) is fine, the plot is none too shabby (though time travel? again?)... and yet...

Here is the problem.
The characters -- all of them -- are dumb. Stupid. As in, behaving stupidly, making idiotic decisions, not thinking for themselves, playing roles assigned to them by the author.

OK for a teenager fantasy.
For an adult? Not so much.

Who was your favorite character and why?

None of them. See above.

Which character – as performed by Gerard Doyle – was your favorite?

Doyle is OK - not *the* best, but certainly deserves a strong "B".

Do you think The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No.
It needs a rewriting.

Any additional comments?

HPMoR. Look it up.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • W.
  • New York, USA
  • 08-04-13

{Spoiler} Good story but somewhat obvious at times

Great setting and very well described. The time-travel idea was pretty obvious from the start. Loved the fact that the bad guys were well known personalities from science.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • 06-03-15

Not for me

I really like the sound of this story, however I was left disappointed. The plot is clunky and awkward, and the narrative is rife with Americanisms which is a real pet peeve of mine. If you are setting a book in England, use English!

The narrator did a good job, and I would probably listen to something narrated by him again.

Overall I can't recommend this book and I certainly won't be bothering with any of the others in the series.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cosima
  • 08-11-12

Steam Punked and Loving it

I stumbled across this book after doing some research on Spring Heeled Jack. I fell in love with it and could not stop listening. The characters are wonderful and brought to life by Gerard Doyle's fantastic narration. The plot weaves in and out of time and it all comes together beautifully, leaving you wanting more. Fantastic creations and ideas, some that were actually made and others that have been Steam Punked into glorious gothic inventions.
A great listen.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ashley
  • 06-23-12

excellent all round innovative and gripping

A very unusual mix of storyline which is believable in most parts, the script is very descriptive producing elaborate mental imagery. The narration is awesome and compelling, I really struggled to stop listening, a really great job and I was straight on to part 2.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy
  • 07-30-14

interesting, but slightly strange

not sure about this. I haven't read any steam punk literature before and have to confess to barely knowing what it is. And yet there's a strange academic challenge here - and a lot of hmm yes, what if?

the book took me longer than usual to listen to and then it finished. Hmmm ....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 06-21-12

Odd, Original and Memorable

An entertaining story that hangs together pretty well. It has some dark moments but it also has moments that did make me smile. The author writes well although sometimes he is a little repetitive on a particular point.

It is mainly a time-travel story in which a man from the 23rd century, keen to reinstate the family's good name, tries to stop his ancestor from killing Queen Victoria and in the attempt dramatically changes the course of history. During the course of the book there is a bit of confusion about the paradoxes that the storyline sets up, but it is all lost in the enjoyable silliness of it all, including a Charles Darwin with two brains and a mechanical Brunel!

Spring-Heeled Jack is a real Victorian phenomena and is worth a look in Wikipedia, but read this after you have listened to the book! Hodder has carefully followed the 'real' myth and speculation in the story he has woven.

The narrator also does a fine job.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mark (markrjohnston@hotmail.com)
  • 03-21-14

Highly entertaining

A superb match of narrator and material, Gerard Doyle's telling of this highly original and fast-paced adventure captures the 'Boys' Own/ Flashman' sensitivity of the story while giving it a dry irony and wit that makes the characters feel authentic and yet doesn't take itself too seriously. Can't recommend this book highly enough... looking forward to the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ms. C. T. Bell
  • 07-08-13

A very interesting imagining

Would you listen to The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack again? Why?

Yes, it was an interesting foray into a past quite different from the one recorded in the history books. There were so many different characters it will probably take another listen to fully appreciate them.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack?

I loved all the scenes with Algernon Swinburne. Although he claimed to be utterly depraved he was a likeable character with a strong sense of loyalty.

What does Gerard Doyle bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The voices selected brough a warmth and likeableness to many of the main characters and he made those who had bodily modifications sound so very different it really made them come alive.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It had some elements that made me smile but it was most interesting for the world described in such great detail in the novel and for the unfolding of the twists and turns of the plot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss
  • 12-03-13

A rip roaring romp through an alternate history

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the fact that the characters were real, the fact that people I had considered heroes turned out to be the villains of the piece and the inventiveness much of which felt as if it so could have been true.

Which character – as performed by Gerard Doyle – was your favourite?

Favourite character? Has to have been the various parakeets, and although silent, Fidget, who always managed to lighten the moment.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the park...

Any additional comments?

Can't wait to start listening to the rest of the series!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark.Lillico
  • 05-18-18

Wow! A ripping yarn.

I couldn't put this down. This book had fantastic characters and creatures, retro futuristic inventions and a very British hero. Whilst I felt some of this was very tongue in cheek I really loved it. Can't wait for more Burton and Swinburn adventures.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David L.
  • 06-28-17

Definitely strange

An imaginative, weird world tinged with some humour. Narrator excellent in parts, especially some of the voice characterisations, but occasionally sounded a bit dull.