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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Mark Hodder's take on steampunk in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack was so fresh and entertaining, I couldn't wait to read the sequel. Pretty much in the same vein, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man is another fun read!

Once again, it's not easy to label this book. It is steampunk, no question about it. But much like its predecessor, it is much more than that. There are alternate history/alternate reality elements imbuing every single page of this work. The time-traveling facet brings an unmistakable science fiction touch. If you add to that various fantastical elements, once more you've got yourself an inventive melting pot of speculative fiction staples that should intrigue and satisfy genre readers everywhere.

As expected, Hodder captured the essence of this pseudo-Victorian Age perfectly with its myriad mannerisms and nuances. His colorful narrative once again creates an imagery that brings this tale to life. The dialogues remain witty and engaging, with most of the cast from The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack returning for Act 2.

The characterization remains my favorite aspect of this second installment. Sir Richard Francis Burton and Algernon Charles Swinburne are well-defined characters, with the latter getting more fleshed out in this sequel. Most of the men and women that comprised the supporting cast in the first volume return and are as endearing a bunch of protagonists as you're likely to find, chief among them Constable William Trounce. New faces are added to the mix, keeping things fresh. Even better, the presence of many historical figures such as Oscar Wilde, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and especially Herbert Spencer, add a little something extra to an already satisfying reading experience.

The rhythm can be uneven from time to time. Add to that the many POV shifts with no clear breaking point within the narrative, and this one is not a more or less fluid read the way The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack was. But I truly enjoyed the way Mark Hodder connects the events from both novels, as well as how he linked the possible futures with the past. In the end, everything comes together, setting the table for what should be a very interesting finale.
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on 7 February 2012
the curious case of the clockwork man by mark hodder an alternative steam punk adventure of
burton and swinburne mark hodder demonstrates more wit , imagination and outright humour in this one book than i have read in 100 other steampunk novels involving time travelling president rasputin, medieval ghosts swearing parrot telegraphs, rotorships and the tichborne claimant set in a realistic plotted alternative london in the days of king albert a good read for all of its 461 pages
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on 9 February 2012
Like the first book in this series, "The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack", this follow-up is a fantastically entertaining read.

Full of all sorts of wonders - giant insects converted into vehicles, visitors from the future, abusive birds, dogs that run in their sleep, and clockwork valets - and real figures from history put in some amazing situations, this book will keep you gripped to the end. The characters, both major and minor, are very well drawn and really draw you into the story: in fact there's a scene where one character, who is introduced in a low key manner but goes on to play a big part in the story, is involved in an attack and I found myself vaguely upset by the outcome .... it's not often a book has this effect on me!!

Highly recommended! The book concludes with a lead onto the next in the series and I, for one, can't wait to read it!
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on 29 April 2014
This will make much more sense if you've already read the first Burton and Swinburne book as it launches straight into a new adventure with the pair. A slightly less involving story to start with but it does pick up as it gets going. Fans of the series will be interested in some of the new and very strange inventions that the alternate time has brought to what should be Victorian London. Lots of detail from the period and Mark Hodder adds well known real Victorians to the mix as well. A good book for fans of the series although maybe not as good as the first.
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on 24 January 2012
The book does indeed race along - 'a real page-turner'. The glimpses of the alternative timelines as they diverged in the mid-19th century are fascianting, and the collection of minor characters are well done. As they are minor, one is never sure as to whether they will make it to the next page, and I kept turning to find out the fate of the various police characters - Trounce, Honesty, Krishnamurthy and Bhatti are all convincingly fleshed-out for minor characters. The 'Folks Wagon' was amusing and the thought of giant centipede carcasses being used for buses is a great one.
The book could have done with some tighter editing - even though the real Burton supposedly died a Catholic, this fictional one and many of the books characters claim that Darwin has killed God, but Burton frequently invokes, and shows a great respect for God in the form of Allah. This may simply be the author playing it safe in the current times, but does stike me as inconsistent. Also, a twelfth century nobleman would not have been hunting foxes - he would in all likelihood have been deer hunting. Minor irritant, but jarring.
If the author continues to improve at the rate he did over the next book, I will eagerly await the next one in the series.
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on 28 September 2011
'A terrific romp' is the hackneyed phrase so often used for books of this kidney, but it certainly fits the bill here. a marvellous follow-up to The Strange Affair Of Spring-Heeled Jack. The characters are great, and if you like steampunk, you won't be disappointed.
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on 11 April 2014
The first Burton and Swinburne novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, deserves all the kudos already heaped upon it, and this is a worthy successor, blending steampunk, sci-fi and fantasy with fine characterisation and first-rate storytelling. It's a proper penny dreadful and a page-turner into the bargain!
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on 19 January 2012
I read SHJ and went straight into this one and - as other people have said - it is a very entertaining read. Mr H does have a bit of trouble with the middles and it could have been given a damned good editing but overall it is great. Starting to look like a British Steampunk version of Schismatrix with more humour.

There is obviously more to come possible away from 'that London' which is great news.
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on 19 March 2013
Both a wonderful romp and curiously over the top! Rather spoilt by its somewhat excessive length and gory body count.

The author is a knowledgable, hugely enthusiastic writer who would be well advised to keep a blue pencil to hand and to score out swathes of otiose and over - descriptive writing, as it appears on his steam typewriter in future.

I enjoyed much of the book, but it could have been so much better had it been more disciplined.

By the way, I may have missed something, but quite what was Battersea Power Station manufacturing?

Mac Tanner.
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on 4 October 2012
This second book was just as enjoyable for me as the first Burton and Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne) although it didn't have the iconic spring heeled jack that hooked my interest in the first place it did have a nice Holmes and Watson feel to the first part of the adventure, particularly Hound of the Baskervilles. However I had read a biography of Burton Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: A Biography beforehand and this gave me a much deeper appreciation of how well researched the main characters were. I had no idea that Burton and Swinburne were friends in real life, I thought it just the inventiveness of the author to put two such odd characters together. While thoroughly enjoyable in it's own right with a great twist at the end and the introduction of legendary characters it just whetted my appetite for the final installment which I was really looking forward to Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton Swinburne)
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