The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack : Burton and Swinburne

  • by Mark Hodder
  • Narrated by Gerard Doyle
  • Series: Burton and Swinburne
  • 14 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Cosima

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.
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- Sara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-05-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios