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[PDF] ✍ The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack Author Mark Hodder – Wildlives.co

London, Sir Richard Francis Burton Explorer, Linguist, Scholar, And Swordsman His Reputation Tarnished His Career In Tatters His Former Partner Missing And Probably DeadAlgernon 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 EndTheir 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


10 thoughts on “The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack

  1. says:

    This super debut novel is like a sweet, dainty cup of mild English teaif it was spiked with Absinthe, poured into a heavy brass goblet and served with Laudanum laced cookies shaped like medical experiments gone awry In other words, a great blend of prim, proper and the freakishly bizarresomebody pass the hookah, this one s gonna get weird Set in 1861 in an Victorian Albertian England, Mark Hodder has created one of the most enticingly strange and intriguing steampunk worlds I have come across in my literary travels Charles Darwin has all but murdered religion, London is choking on the pollution that is the byproduct of its runaway industrial innovations and the parliament controlled government is a powder keg of factions The Technologists create modern marvels ranging from brass robots, mechanical trash burning litter crabs and one man flying contraptions called rotochairs The Eugenicists splice and tinker to create specialized, genetically engineered species to act cheap labor Both of these two group bear much in common with the Clankers and the Darwinists from Scott Westerfeld s excellent YA Leviathan series, though there is a much gothic, Vandermeer Mieville feel to them in this work Socially, we have the Libertines who adhere to a morally dubious celebration of freedom calling for a society without restrictive laws that celebrates beauty, art and the freeing of humanity from the burdens of social conventions I dubbed these guys the Dorian Gray party, sans the creepy painting and a young Oscar Wilde is actually a character in the story Finally, we have the Rakes.who take everything the libertines believe in and push it to eleven They are darker, sexually deviant and far callous Their dream is a world where humanity lives controlled by their primal instincts for sex, violence and anarchy and they inhabit much of the darker criminal enterprises in the city i.e., drugs, sex clubs, etc In touring this world, we are guided by a pair of brash, roguish gentlemen scoundrels who may turn out to be outstanding leading characters in future novels Sir Richard Francis Burton yesthat one is a famous explorer, scholar, swordsman and an extremely cunning linguist Algernon Charles Swinburne is a clever, morally casual libertine poet who has a serious pain fetish and digs nothing than a really firm flogging of the bottomor anywhere else for that matter By the way, Algy is also a serious drunkard, but I don t feel qualified to judge on this point He who is without a hangover can cast the first shot glass or something like that So here s the plot lowdown PLOT SUMMARY Despite Burton s fame, he has fallen into disfavor after suffering a humiliating scandal perpetrated by a group that includes his oldest friend, John Hanning Speke Richard returns to London unsure of what his future holds at the same time London is being harried by a legendary boogeyman and possible would be rapist known as Spring heeled Jack After a bizarre encounter with this mysterious apparition, Burton is hired as a special agent of Prince King Albert to solve the mystery of the entity s strange appearances At the same time, a group of child stealing loup garous aka, fancy talk for werewolves are terrorizing the poorer sections of London and snatching young members of the League of Chimney Sweeps Richard and his almost trusty sidekick Algy begin to wonder if the two series of events might be connectedWhat do they find uh, uhthat would be telling THOUGHTS In terms of ideas and plot, this book does not feel like a debut novel This man has deft, story crafting chops and is sure to make his presence felt in years to come Except for a bit of slippage in the last 50 pages where the story seemed a bit out of control, Hodder maintains a firm grasp on his narrative Also, he does something that I have never seen before in a steampunk novel He provides a credible and understandable basis for exactly how such technology exists and doesn t just ask the reader to accept it as a given This explanation is part of the big reveal that takes place halfway through the story and sets this one well above the norm in terms of inventiveness and plot lay out There are some things the book could have done better I loved the two main characters, but I thought they could have been a little better developed However, as there is already a sequel with a third book coming out soon, I am confident that both Burton s and Swinburne s characters will be filled in and expanded Also, as wonderfully put together as the plot was, I thought the very end was a bit rushed and felt a little like Hodder had to tourniquet the climax because he was afraid of story gush and needed to get things tied off and wrapped up Still, an incredibly impressive debut Quality prose, very engaging characters, a superbly, SUPERBLY imagined world and terrific central story involving a who blend of SF tropes that come together into a wonderful stew 4.0 t0 4.5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


  2. says:

    Book, you have the right to a speedy trial review THE DEFENSE A brilliant reimagining of several historical figures Loved how philosophical themes like technology vs humanity and propriety vs freedom were explored Exemplary world building and atmosphere throughout Author succeeds where so many other sci fi writers have failed, he manages to explore alternate timelines without being confusing at all Swinburne is especially entertaining THE PROSECUTION Not enough Swinburne Lengthy descriptions of steampunk contraptions occasionally left me glassy eyed Horrific moments particularly Spring Heeled Jack s targeting of young women may be too much for some readers More significant female characters would have been nice the book is pretty much one gigantic sausage fest THE VERDICT Whereas other steampunk novels choose to only graze at real life events i.e Leviathan or create a new world entirely i.e Retribution Falls , Mark Hodder realizes the fullest potential of the steampunk genre, blending several historical figures and events together to create a fascinating alternate reality While some parts of the story are disturbing enough to make even George R R Martin cringe, the novel remains unputdownable throughout Can t wait for the next installment


  3. says:

    EH EH this desperate steampunk non adventure plays like an overly hysterical farce with delusions of grandeur although seemingly full of creative ideas, those ideas have run sadly amuck there is no grounding of the frivolity within interesting characterization or sparkling dialogue both of which remain almost obstinately insipid and amateurish famous english personages are tossed around willy nilly with little sense and zero resonance cutesie poo preciousness is found everywhere, from the lil newsboy Oscar Wilde to foul mouthed delivery parrots steampunk elements themselves are parroted on an ad hoc basis but have little internal logic, only inspiring sighs eye rolling from this severely disappointed and agitated reader at a little over the halfway mark page 200, i think , i decided my time had been wasted enough and chose to skim the rest if only to see how Hodder dealt with his inexplicably villainous creations Charles Darwin Florence Nightingale although they turned out to be a disappointment, i m glad i chose skimming instead of tossing the final third of the novel contains a rather awesome, multi chapter novel within a novel that details the sad, terrible, increasingly fearful misadventures of the titular, time traveling, so called villain Spring Heeled Jack now THAT portion of the novel was marvelous certainly worthy of at least one extra star.


  4. says:

    I m sitting here trying to decide how to say what I need to say about The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, and I can t get my review of Cherie Priest s Boneshaker out of my head So I m going let it inspire me I dug Mark Hodder s The Strange Affair of Spring heeled Jack, but it was too damn much I dug Albertan England, but the changes from the Victorian England I am familiar with were too outrageous, too far beyond what even my whacked out imagination could accept.I dug the loups garous, but there were too many of them, and their spontaneous wolf man combustion was one pseudo Sci Fi step too far for me to suspend my disbelief I dug Sir Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne, and even Speke and Palmerston plastic face and all were tolerable, but throwing in Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Ismabard Kingdom Brunel stretched my ability to cope But even that wasn t enough for Hodder No, no, no He had to give us a newsboy, nicknamed Quips so clever , who just happens to be a young Oscar Wilde But even THAT wasn t enough for Hodder Nope The revelation of Wilde s identity came upon his first meeting with a poet named Algy a couple of paragraphs away from the books only use of the word perambulator Fuck off I dug the new novella at the heart of the tale Part Two Being the True History of Spring Heeled Jack and would love to have seen all of Hodder s energy poured into that history As a novella, it might have been nearly as good as H.G Wells The Invisible Man, but then there s Part One and Three and the Conclusion and the Appendix, and there is an excess of plot and action that is just begging to be streamlined and morphed into a radio play odd, I know, but I kept hearing the story in my head with the crackling overlay of an old time radio I wanted to mess with it and adapt it, or beg Hodder to keep it simple and short, but he was too in love with his own cleverness, and that hurt the literary experience if not the entertainment experience.I dug The Mad Marquess and even dug his Mr Belljar alter ego, but the way he became the damn dirty ape of Burton s nightmares was well lame because of everything such as Ms Nightengale that was required to make it work.I dug Spring Heeled Jack, and I loved the way we watched his loose ends tie up, but I wanted him to be smarter than he was Perhaps that s not fair, though.I dug how Burton finished the tale and made a timeline shaking choice based purely on his selfish desires, but I don t buy for a second that it was required The timeline was already irrevocably fucked Still, heroic brutality was refreshing, and it made him feel like James Bond than Sherlock Holmes I dug most of the technological steampunk elements, but I grew thoroughly weary of the eugenic steampunk elements Again, Wells did it better when he was writing straight up Sci Fi in the Victorian Era than any steampunk writers can do today when they ape the era for their stories Herbert George, what would you make of steampunk I dug the hint of tales with Burton and Swinburne, but I think I would rather spend some time in Damascus with Isabel Arundell instead I dug The Strange Affair of Spring heeled Jack, but it was too much of a good thing and not enough of a great thing, and the only way to get to the great would have been to decrease the good because too much good winds up being just okay.I wonder if Burton and Swinburne will take on Jack the Ripper next Seems appropriate, and what would the Ripper be in a timeline so fantastically altered That could actually bring me back to Hodder s Albertan past I ll cross my fingers and toes.


  5. says:

    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is the first book in a steampunk series called Burton Swinburne This was a crazy, fun book It s kinda sorta set in the Victorian era and features many historical figures who are misused to serve the author s evil purposes I could imagine this book would surely drive some people crazy, but I really enjoyed it even while recognizing it has some flaws.The main characters, Burton and Swinburne, are two of the aforementioned real people from history The story focuses mainly on Burton, but Swinburne plays of a role eventually Near the beginning of the book, Burton has returned to London after learning that a man he knew well has shot himself While walking home drunk from a pub, he s accosted by a strangely costumed man on spring loaded stilts who leaps out of nowhere, beats him up, and yells at him to do what he s supposed to do Burton has never seen this man before and has no idea what he s talking about.In addition to the steampunk type technology, there are also genetically altered creatures They re a bit silly, but fun I particularly enjoyed the potty mouth parakeets I m not sure what that says about me Of course, nothing could beat the broom cats Has there ever been a cat owner in all of history who has NEVER tried to convince their cat to serve as a broom This is probably why modern cats love Roombas so much Lest anybody read this book and end up horribly disappointed, broom cats do not play a significant role in this book They re just briefly mentioned This is probably not a book to read if unrealistic science bothers you The genetic creations are pretty unlikely, and even the technological creations are than a small stretch in the context of the story The book might also bother people who want their historical figures to be portrayed consistent with how history portrays them The history wasn t much of a problem for me since I don t know UK history well, and for the rest of it I found that I was able to suspend my disbelief pretty easily and just go with the flow I found it a lot of fun, the story kept me interested as I worked to connect the scattered dots, and it made me laugh a lot If I have one complaint, it was that people seemed to go off the deep end awfully easily, which made it difficult for me to buy into some of the characters behaviors Some of the characters did have experiences that would have been shocking and horrible to actually experience, yet I believe humans are resilient than they were portrayed in this book.I did like that my edition had some brief explanations at the end of the book about both the real legend of spring heeled jack as well as the many historical figures who showed up in the book I was a little bit overwhelmed in the very beginning by all of these characters who had wiki entries when I touched their names in my Kindle, because only a few were familiar to me However, the character introductions eventually settled down and I was able to keep everybody straight I didn t worry too much about who they really were while I read the book, but I was interested in reading that historical info at the end of the book after I had already spent a few hundred pages with their fictional counterparts.This book tells a complete story I m not sure if the setting can sustain my interest for an entire six book series, but I enjoyed this first one well enough that I m going to continue on to the second and see how things go.


  6. says:

    Steampunk is all the rage nowadays The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack seizes the trend in an intriguingly weird story that turns history on its head, thanks to the inept bungling of a time traveler who, in our world, was one of the most notorious urban legends of Victorian England.I am not really a huge fan of steampunk Actually, to put it bluntly, I think most steampunk is stupid, an excuse to mix corsets and Anglophilia with science fiction.But I enjoyed this book a lot It s rip roarin well plotted adventure, with a fine attention to historical detail if not scientific plausibility.There are lots of things Mark Hodder does right His alt history is a colorful blend of historical figures and fanciful inventions It s not science, it s Science When a time traveler from the 22nd century goes back in time to 1840, the date on which 18 year old Edward Oxford attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria, he inadvertently causes the assassination to succeed The changes that result from Victoria s death are not merely the loss of Victorian England, but a 19th century England in which Technologists build ornithopters and geothermal power stations and air trains, while eugenicists engineer messenger dogs and parakeets, house cleaning cats, and elephantine horses Meanwhile, Libertines and Rakes are rival factions preaching a complete overthrow of the social order Mesmerism and other magical practices are real, and genetic engineering on humans is beginning.Adventuring, two fisted pulp style, in this steampunk bizarro world are the famous explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton and the poet Algernon Swinburne Burton crosses the sinister time traveling Spring Heeled Jack, thus becoming ensnared in his calamitous attempts to unscrew history.The use of actual historical figures is cleverly done According to 19th century lore, Spring Heeled Jack was some sort of superhuman demi rapist, running around England sexually assaulting women by tearing their clothes off Hodder actually comes up with a logical explanation for Jack s behavior, and for how the loon could be a time traveler I also appreciated his use of historical personages and events Edward Oxford was a real person, and his attempted assassination of Queen Victoria is a historical fact Hodder makes strange fiction out of it He uses real people like Richard Burton, Algernon Swinburne, and Lord Henry Beresford of Waterford, with cameos by Oscar Wilde, Charles Babbage, and others I was particularly amused at the eeeeeeevil evolutionists being led by view spoiler Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale hide spoiler


  7. says:

    This book was brilliant and one of the best books I have picked up in a while because of how vastly different it was, and yet thoroughly engrossing I tend to read a lot of Epic or High Fantasy which is what I love to read, but this rings as an adventure, Victorian era fiction, Steampunk Fantasy and Sci fi story all rolled into one You may think that sounds like an awful lot of stuff, and it is, but it works Having never heard of or read anything by Hodder prior to this I went into this with a very open mind and no real expectations other than I loved the cover designs, and one of my friends gave it a 5 review so I knew it had to be decent I didn t know what it was other than it was a kind of absurdist steampunk novel, and I certainly didn t think I would fall in love with it as much as I did.This is the story of a rather wacky world It s kind of like our Victorian period, but it s also got a lot cool inventions and some very comical characters The author has clearly looked into people of the era who were influential and famous, and these make up the main part of the cast, however they do not act as they would have done in our world because the land that they live in is so different and wacky that their stories in this book are a lot colourful and fun than their real life histories This book has some exceptionally witty and truly wonderful writing Whilst it doesn t swerve away from bold language in some scenes, there s always a sense that you re living and reading about the proper period of history and even with the added contraptions of the world, there s a distinct gentlemanly feeling which sort of echoes Sherlock A large amount of this story focuses on two characters, Burton and Swinburne as the title of the series would suggest These two are pretty funny characters indeed with Burton being a famous explorer and the main protagonist, and Swinburne a semi famous poet who is sort of a reluctantly accepted side kick These two make for some wonderful conversation and discourse, with a whole lot of charm and charisma thrown in too They bounce well off of one another, and work well together as a team I have to say that they were wonderful characters to get to know I actually listened to this on audiobook largely and I have to say I think that the Narrator, Gerard Doyle, was fabulous at making this world yet exhilarating and the characters far apt to their roles and society than I could have imagined in my head He did some stellar voice acting and I would highly recommend this as a series you may consider to listen to.However, equally another aspect which I loved about the physical edition was that at the start of every chapter we had something like a note, letter or advert which was either related to the story, characters or the world, and by far the adverts were my favourite Over the course of this book we see a fair few absurd and hilarious advertisements and flyers with the appropriate embellishments of the time for all manner of bizarre and wonderful product such as motorised penny farthings to beard growing kits It made me chuckle and smile every time I got to a new chapter Finally, what is the story all about Well this is a funny one to explain because although everything links up we actually have 3 parts to the book, the first focusing on Burton as he returns from and adventure to find that his friend and enemy has supposedly died, and everything he wanted in his life is severely shaken when he s assigned a role by appointment of the King His story gets and crazy but suffice to say it eventually involves a rather deranged and wild character of Spring Heeled Jack who is a vibrant, interesting and baffling character all at once The second part of the story focuses on a character called Oxford who becomes an interesting part of the story and tells his own version of events which we have already experienced with our initial character.The final part was the convergence of both storylines, and I have to say I think the book was wonderfully structured and a lot of fun to read and experience On the whole if you ve never heard of or been interested in this book I would highly advise that you give it a look the next time you re out and about because this was certainly a book I adored and the start to what promises to be a wonderful series A firm 5 s and I cannot wait to progress further with the next books as I do already own book 2 and 3 and can t wait to pick them up


  8. says:

    I had to create a number of shelves to accommodate this wacky novel It s primarily a Steampunk Victorian Detective Novel and then you add all of these other elements in Rogue geneticists, time travel, the assassination of Queen Victoria, a mad Marquess very Victorian , a timeline that goes increasingly awry, and my favorite bit, part swashbuckling adventure I swear this book made me want to whip out a rapier and dance around like a mad lunatic Which is what I would look like if I tried sword fighting Oh, there s also a young Oscar Wilde as a newsboy Burton is offered a job as the King s Agent at the beginning of the book and told to investigate the werewolf problem in London After explaining to the Prime Minister that he was accosted the night before by a strange figure, Burton finds out that this is the famed mythical figure, Spring Heeled Jack He s told to investigate that as well I don t want to say anything else because it would be easy to spoiler something I will say that there isn t much food for thought here but it s a hell of a lot of fun if that s what you re looking for I m looking forward to the rest of the series Two things did surprise me The author really captures the feel of a Victorian detective novel but he manages to somehow mix it with all of these strange elements without it ever seeming awkward The other is that the author explained every single one of Spring Heeled Jack s appearances That was impressive.Also, I listened to the audio and the narrator was beyond brilliant He did an excellent range of voices, my favorite was the Beadle that lived in a chimney and protected the chimney sweeps I was never clear on what he was exactly but the narrator s voice was hilariously spooky.This was a truly fun book.


  9. says:

    A really good steampunk slash alternate history book, with an entertaining and plausible origin embedded in the story and some great characters I m going to refer folks over to friend David s review here, as his 5 star review captures most all of my feelings for this book My additional thoughts I was not quite as taken with Swineburne as he was there was just enough of the Algy character for me There was no logical reason for Quips to exist as he did in this story, which the author basically confesses to in the end notes Once I learned that he was superfluous, the story took a step down in quality for me I didn t think some of the biological inventions could have occurred as early in history as they did here, both for the internal logic of the story, and for scientific reasons, although they were quite entertaining The moral behavior of the protagonists seemed historically accurate Those of their enemies seemed a bit overblown although necessary to support the plot , so it gave an air of fantasy rather than science fiction Not all of behavior of either side, however, was pleasant.Overall, quite good and worth the read I hope the next in the series can keep up Monopoly Steampunk move.


  10. says:

    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is a madcap movie, basically, and entertaining, but without the inventions this is a three star read, really But if you unpack the novel, the entire story is a Rube Goldberg machine I liked but not loved I ve given four stars because the author Mark Hodder was clever by throwing in real inventions from the mid 1880 s and the plot posed some interesting dilemmas which occurred from time traveling I had the most fun Googling the inventions and studying the drawings The oddness of everything draws you into the book and keeps you reading or maybe it will put you off the book Nothing is normal, but not too alarming Everything is a bit off, literally and figuratively This is an alternative universe story that takes place in 1861 London It has famous people in history as protagonists, but these people could not have ever been as represented here in this novel Basic physical features and personalities are vaguely acknowledged, but how they lived in history is completely rearranged into Frankenstein mash ups Instead of the usual romantic London we have come to expect from Sherlock Holmes movies, this London is similar to the bottom of a mine or Manhatten on 9 11, full of soot, dirt, dust and airborne filth Admirable qualities of the hero characters are muted, while their darker natures are what make them successful Women are cosseted in theory while mistreated and disrespected in all the usual ways the author didn t have to twist anything here, the real world s attitudes are sufficiently twisted as is Vehicles of Travel of all sorts seems to be an underlying but powerful theme, a lot of them being crackpot inventions that work however, everyone moves in circles revisiting the same streets or move only in time while jumping up and down in the same spot.As a reader from 2012, in effect I m a time travelor in the point of view position of the character Spring Heeled Jack While he finds himself unable to accept his circumstances, I want to explore, examine and make friends with this world Jack s feelings don t make sense to me His costume is clownish, and the stilts that he has made necessary to the functioning of his invention is a peculiar way to solve the problem of its functioning His time travel suit is a Rube Goldberg machine In addition, his original quest is ridiculous considering the lengths he went to in order to change a long ago and ultimately minor historical note, but I suppose that s the nature of Rube Goldberg crackpots.The cascade of disrupted history and displaced technology is the fun part of the book But again, it s off kilter in application to the story The only part of society that is disrupted is some of the upper class, particularly those who are crackpots in philosophical and science matters.I think because the heart of the entire book is it s being an elaborate literary Rube Goldberg construction, I can t like it as much as I admire it The off kilter crackpot silliness overcomes this reader s ability to connect with anything emotionally This alt universe is ugly, too, despite the fact of everyone s either cheery soldiering on or stiff upper lip attitudes Burton and Swinburne are not heroes, but bored dilettantes looking for something fun to do They are not exactly haunted, but unhappy and unfulfilled They both are rich, Burton respectible and intellectually gifted while Swinburne fits the role of wing man Burton, the hero , is not a man burning with passion before, during or after events For an explorer of harsh places, he is strangely unaffected by his discoveries, very one dimensional Swinburne is terrifically amusing, the only part of the book that had me laughing, but sadly, he is barely in the book The werecreatures were appropriately monsterish and gory, so be warned graphic bits included.Is it worth reading I think so Is it likable Maybe I loved the broom cats and the message birds with coprolalia.