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32 Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific book
Read 'A Red Sun Also Rises' before I read this book. Have to say I found it a slow starter but once I got past the first couple of chapters I raced through it like there was no tomorrow.

I like the way Mark Hodder puts forward various arguments for instance politics and religion and does it very well, but the action is brilliant. I couldn't wait to turn the...
Published 10 months ago by V. A. WARREN

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spring-Heeled Jack Reimagined In Steampunk World
This is set in an alternative 1860's,following explorer Richard Burton's investigations into Spring-Heeled Jack a strange leaping apparition.This book employs many'steampunk'conventions like advanced retro technology,real historical figures,and some variation of the classic vampire zombie werewolf monster.Spring-Heeled Jack,however is a genuine Victorian urban myth.Mass...
Published on 7 Feb 2011 by M P Hall


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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trippin' the Time fantastic, 10 Sep 2010
This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
The title and the cover illustration certainly was an enticing combination ~ but the pleasure of reading this novel far surpassed any expectation! The characters, particularly of Sir Richard Francis Burton (a personal favourite and hero of mine), were well-defined and pleasantly with some obviously personal flaws. Nice to read about heroes with flaws because they seem all that much more believable. The "visuals" of the book are fascinating and fantastic and pulling in theSteampunk elements truly enhanced the world Mark Hodder created.

Okay, so that all being said, when's the sequel coming out??????????????
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack Falls Flat, 26 Aug 2010
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
'The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack' is a straightforward Steampunk novel. All the standard archtypes are present: A swashbuckling hero, fog choked streets and gruesome reinventions of some notable historical figures. Where this novel differs from others in the genre, is that instead of the alternate-reality being presented as a fait-accompli, it is the actions of the novel's characters that bring about a grim alternate Victorian London. Pleasing though this idea is, the novel is a ponderous affair. Judicious pruning of the opening three-hundred pages would have made this novel a more satisfying read.

Comparison is inevitable between this book and 'Snow Books' stablemate George Mann's Newbury and Hobbes novels. Mann's novels divide opinion, and whilst they have their flaws, they move along at a frenetic pace, remaining action filled throughout. Hodder's is on the face of it the more thoughtful novel, but his attempts at adding gravitas are clumsy. For example, he often makes reference to Britain's foreign policy (of the time) as being a bad thing, but barely bothers to mention why. The introduction of time-travel opens up many interesting avenues for the plot, but falls foul of the 'shooting your grandfather' paradox. There is a vague suggestion at one stage that Hodder may have a clever way around it, but ultimately he decides not to bother, whilst hoping nobody notices.

Hodder's description, particularly in the early pages is verbose, robbing the novel of excitement. . The lead character, Sir Richard Burton, keeps pausing to look at things, taking every exquisite detail in, rather than getting on with the story. Okay, its a steam powered bicycle, who cares which strut goes where. There is far too much telling and not enough showing.

The use of historical characters in Steampunk is a common device. Hodder has done his research - Burton and Swinburne, two relatively minor Victorians, are vividly depicted, and made for an entertaining duo. It was Hodder's treatment of history's heavyweights, that didn't work for me. Darwin, Brunel and in particular Florence Nightingale come in for a serious and ugly rework. Although I don't think anybody's reputation should be inviolate, particularly in speculative fiction, the reworking done here seemed gratuitous and out of keeping with the historical figures in question.

Which leads me on to my final gripe - by suggesting that the world of Spring Heeled Jack, is our world altered, Hodder has put himself in a bind. If the mechanics of the world are not explained, then the author can get away with a bit of magic, or technological slight of hand. But this is our would with one minor historical change. Personalities would not be changed wholesale, and the laws of physics and physiology would not suddenly become malleable. This feels a little like I'm splitting hairs - this is a work of imagination, and more or less anything can happen, but I just could not help feeling that the novel lacked credibility.

That is not to say 'Spring Heeled Jack' is a bad book. Although flawed, most of the time, this is an an entertaining read. Part Two (the novel is split in to three parts) is particularly good, being both exciting and inventive. It's a shame the other two parts weren't of the same high quality. Had they been this would have been an excellent novel, rather than an average one. If you like Steampunk novels, then there is still some enjoyment to be had from this novel, but don't expect to be blown away. If you are new to the genre, then I wouldn't start here...
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a gift, 12 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
I bought this for my daughter. All I can say is she loved it. She requested this book as a gift
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Rollercoaster, 20 Nov 2011
This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
This is a great Steampunk debut for Mark Hodder. I found it compulsive reading from start to finish, a rip-roaring good read. I loved the time twists and turns, the graphic novel-style imagery and alternative vision for Victorian England. It was like a rollercoaster - enjoyed every page!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Fun!!, 9 Nov 2011
This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
Really enjoyed this! I'm sure there are better examples of alternate history, or steampunk or whatever you choose to call it, available but this book zips along so nicely it's difficult to my mind to fault it! Things seemed a bit stilted at the start and somewhat old fashioned, reminding me to some degree of the old Edger Rice Burroughs books I used to read, but I gradually accepted that this style was intentional and as the story unfolded, with lots of weird inventions and happenings, it felt more and more right.

The time travel parts of the book will make your head spin with their complexities but by the end everything makes sense ..... if time travel, were wolves, and Victorian flying machines can ever make sense!!

Recommended! I look forward to reading others in the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 14 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
Good
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and highly recommended, 24 Feb 2011
By 
G. Fergus "jollyjambo" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
I am a huge SF fan but have never really 'got' the steam punk genre. I was hugely impressed by Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld Series to the point where I actually read a great deal about many of the 'real life' characters that were portrayed in those books. One of those characters was of course the incredible but flawed genius Sir Richard Francis Burton, Linguist, Translator, Explorer, Writer, Poet, Swordsman and many, many other things. I was intrigued when I saw that Burton was one of the main characters in this book and decided that since the reviews were reasonably positive, that I would give it a try. I was very glad that I did as this is an excellent story. The Author has obviously studied Burton's life and seems to capture it extremely well, albeit in a fictional setting. To any half knowledgable student of Burton there are some glaring 'mistakes' in the early part of the book but these are eventually explained in a satisfactory fashion. As a previous reviewer noted the second half of the book lacks the pace of the first half but this is because it is trying to explain in some detail the very strange events of the first half. This doesn't stop it from being an excellent read. I have ordered the sequel and I am greatly looking forward to it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring extravaganza, 25 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
It starts well(ish) then slowly goes down and down until you are utterly bored and annoyed with the characters (and their speech)and forget about the silly plot. Maybe, except for Swinburne (a laugh now and then). There was every ingredient to boil a good (pea)soup; but mystery, Victorian London, Steampunk, fog and rakes are tasteless without any salt. And the right pinch of salt was definitevely missing. This genre has certain standards, diffcult to achieve as this book clearly shows. Too many ideas banged into the cauldron. Too much of a young boy's immagination not reined in enough. A good editing would have helped. I would not recommend it.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top notch stuff from Mr Hodder, 18 Dec 2010
By 
Matthew J. Holder (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
This is a fine example of the genre with excellent slants on both realistic and alternative historys , with more of an edge than its contemporaries such as George Manns "Immorality engine " .
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ, 18 April 2011
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This review is from: Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) (Paperback)
An outstanding novel, likeable characters,plenty of action,wierd victorian engineering,werewolves and time travel.
whats not to like.Bring on book 2.
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