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Mark Hodder

Mark Hodder Mark Hodder is the creator and caretaker of the BLAKIANA Web site, which he designed to celebrate, record, and revive Sexton Blake, the most written about fictional detective in English publishing history. A former BBC writer, editor, journalist, and Web producer, Mark has worked in all the new and traditional medias and was based in London for most of his working life until 2008, when he relocated to Valencia in Spain to de-stress and write novels. He can most often be found at the base of a palm tree, hammering at a laptop. Mark has a degree in cultural studies and loves British history (1850 to 1950, in particular), good food, cutting-edge gadgets, cult TV (ITC forever!), Tom Waits, and a vast assortment of oddities. Click here for more books by Mark Hodder.

Burton & Swinburne

Burton & Swinburne — (2010-2016) Publisher: Sir Richard Francis Burton — explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman; his reputation tarnished; his career in tatters; his former partner missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne — 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 epicenter 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 labor; Libertines oppose repressive laws and demand a society based on beauty and creativity; while the Rakes push the boundaries of human behavior 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!

fantasy book reviews Mark Hodder Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack 2. The Curious Case of the Clockwork Manfantasy book reviews Mark Hodder Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack 2. The Curious Case of the Clockwork Manfantasy book reviews Mark Hodder Burton & Swinburne in The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack 2. The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man 3. Mountains of the Moonfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Rise of the Automated Aristocrats: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack: Pretty good steampunk

Readers’ average rating:

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

I’ve had some mixed success with the steampunk trend the past few years, thoroughly enjoying it when the authors pay as much attention to story and character as they do in coming up with new ways to mash-up old and new technologies, but finding it dully disappointing when the basic steampunk premise is the high point of creativity (Look! Airships flying over horse-drawn carriages while Dickens is walking through the streets!). Mark Hodder’s new book, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, I’m happy to say, does not disappoint, despite some awkward moments and a less-than-adequate ending.

Being steampunk, the novel is set in an alternate-history England during the late-1800s. However, this isn’t technically a “Victorian” Age as Queen Victoria was assassinated decades earlier (... Read More

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man: A good story, but messy

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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man by Mark Hodder

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man is Mark Hodder’s second steampunk novel with Sir Richard Burton as the protagonist, following The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack. Though it is a sequel, and reading the first book will give you a fuller sense of setting and character, Clockwork Man stands pretty independently, so not having read the first certainly doesn’t preclude you from starting here. Unfortunately, while I mostly enjoyed Spring-Heeled Jack, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man took a surprisingly large step backward in terms of reading enjoyment.

England of the 1860’s has been changed by the time-traveling events of Spring-Heeled Jack, turned u... Read More

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon: Has major pacing issues

Readers’ average rating:

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon by Mark Hodder

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon is the third and possibly final book in Mark Hodder’s steampunk/alternate history series starring Sir Richard Burton as the main protagonist, along with his good friend, the poet Algernon Swinburne. I was a fan of the first, The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack, but far less enamored of the second and messier one, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon falls somewhere in between the two, though major pacing issues tip it over a bit too much to the negative side.

The earlier books set up the basic premise, which is really too complex to get much into here. Basically, time is awry thanks to earlier events a... Read More

More fantasy by Mark Hodder

The Adventures of Macallister Fogg — (2013- ) Publisher: In the years before the incomparable Sherlock Holmes drove away the competition, and despite his arrogant claim to be the first of his kind, Baker Street was filled with consulting detectives. Among the investigators who worked out of that famous thoroughfare, none experienced such a capricious career as Mr Macallister Fogg. To judge Fogg against Holmes would be entirely unreasonable, for the two men couldn’t be more different in character. Where Holmes was driven and precise, Fogg was a feckless dabbler, concerned more with his mechanical inventions and chemical experiments than with the solving of his clients’ problems. Undoubtedly, had he not taken on Mrs Emma Boswell as his secretary, he’d have quickly gone out of business and there’d be no record of his eccentricities or the remarkable threats he encountered and somehow nullified. It is fair to say that Fogg, on more than one occasion, saved not just his clients but the Earth itself, and certainly could not have done so without the long suffering Mrs Boswell at his side. Mark Hodder, author of the Philip K. Dick Award winning BURTON & SWINBURNE series, introduces a new steampunk hero, a man who blunders from one weird adventure to another: Macallister Fogg, Consulting Detective!

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fantasy and science fiction book reviewsA Red Sun Also Rises — (2012) Publisher: Transported to the alien world of Ptallaya by a strange and terrifying ritual, Victorian missionary Aiden Fleischer and his brilliant but damaged assistant Clarissa Stark are stranded. Befriended by the Yatsill, a race of bizarre telepathic alien mimics, the travellers watch in amazement as the society around them transforms into a parody of London. But as the dual yellow suns of this new world slowly set, a red sun is also rising, and with it come the Blood Gods, an ancient and indestructible evil…