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The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi

(Burton & Swinburne #4)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Burton & Swinburne return in a new series!

The Beast is coming. History will be remade.

Since the assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840, a cabal of prominent men-including King George V, HRH Prince Albert, Benjamin Disraeli, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel-has received guidance from the Afterlife. The spirit of a dead mystic, Abdu El Yezdi, has helped them to steer the
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 8th 2013 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  927 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Start your review of The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi (Burton & Swinburne, #4)
This is the fourth book in Hodder’s steampunk series, Burton & Swinburne. Those who read my review of the third book may remember that I was annoyed by an illogical twist near the end that soured me on a series I had mostly been enjoying. This book builds on that illogical twist and adds some additional illogic of its own.

It’s still a fun series in many ways. I really like the characters, and the books make me laugh out loud quite often. This book’s story is fairly straight-forward, more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
I love this series. I completely understand why some people might not though. You cannot read the books out of order. It would be way too confusing. And you cannot write much about them and not spoil something.

The last book ended with a huge cliffhanger. I hate cliffhangers, but there are some books you simply overlook all that and eagerly wait for the next one. I was wondering if it was possible to resolve all the piled up issues. The book returns to all the characters that played important
Nicholas Harvey
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The only problem with the Mountains of the Moon was I wasn't sure where Hodder was going to be able to go from there. With The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi, he showed us where, or whereS with a capital "S". There is no end to the amount of adventures the intrepid adventurer and his De Sade devotee sidekick can go.

And this, the first in the continuing adventures, packed a lot of possibilities into the punch. Most of the characters you've come to know and love and even revile are here in this ever
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a great mishmash of a read, merging Victorian personalities and great understanding of London at this time with a great imaginative storytelling.

This book along with the last one is a lot more serious in its tone, I found myself missing the humour of the first two books..

highly recommended to all.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2015-reads
First of all let me tell you that I love the series.
I belong to the group of readers who thought after reading book three that the series came to its end.
So I was more than happy when I found that the series will continue with a new story arc.
I was not sure which way Mark Hodder would go after the events in book three. But he chose well and delivered a new, incredible, intense and intelligent story. The reader needs to take care not to get lost in the time travel aspects.
For fans of the series
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Come on, Mark Hodder. You're 80% of the way there. Just a little bit farther...

I've had a love/hate relationship with this series since it began. Hodder tells a pretty excellent alternate-universe pulp yarn, and while his writing started out a bit workmanlike and unpolished, it's definitely improved as the books go on.

Unfortunately, his particular weakness happens to be located right at one of my personal pet peeve points - he can't for the life of him seem to write a female character who isn't
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Another fanciful journey into the alternative Victorian world with Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne.
Even after reading four of this series, I still sometimes cringe at the use of real people thrown into an alternate reality. True, I read the "Riverworld" series many years ago which also prominently featured Burton. But I've learned so much more about the man and the era since then that I guess I've become more particular.
Still, it's an action packed series that's a lot of fun, though
Benjamin Thomas
When I know I’m good and ready for a challenging read I know I can always turn to Mark Hodder’s Burton & Swinburne adventure series. One really needs to put everything else aside and prepare for full throttle complexity, and after reading this 4th book in the series, I’m thinking they’re growing even more convoluted than ever.

Ever since I read the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, I’ve been impressed with the author’s creativity. To be able to explore this
Fred Hughes
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book in this “A Burton and Swinburne Adventure” series created by Mark Hodder. If you love this book you will also want to check out “The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man” and “Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon” and “The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack”. All HIGHLY recommended

The two main characters couldn’t be further apart and yet they link closely as a team seeing what is happening from different perspectives that compliments the other.

Burton is a large man and
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff, lib
Okay… As I left it with the last book in this series, I was definitely not happy. So, you ask (not really but this is what is going through my head and out my fingers as I type this), why did I go ahead and read this book if the last one was so disappointing. The simple answer is – I had already checked this book out from the library. So I figured I would give it a try. And it is definitely not quite as bad as the last.

To summarize: The good – it slowed down and became a little less incoherent,
Jess Cattanach
(Review from 2013 read)

I just wrote 90% of my review and accidentally clicked out of the page :S

I can't really describe my excitement when I found out this was released. I'm about 300 years behind when it comes to books, but I raced to my local library's catalogue and was thrilled to see that they'd already purchased a copy. Needless to say I got my hands on it as soon as I could and gladly sunk back into the familiar alternate Victorian era that Mark Hodder has created.

I read Expedition to the
Graeme Wyllie
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
4th volume in Burton and Swinbourne series and yet not 4th volume? Because without too many explicit spoilers, the events at end of book 3 may mean that trilogy never existed :-)

This is actually one of the cleverer time paradoxical works I've read where a divergent timeline spawns from the assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840 and the resulting history features a mash of both genetic engineering and steampunk gone crazy blending characters fictional and factual. Where is succeeds best is
David Marshall
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This performs the three-card trick by adding a fourth novel to the series and maintaining the same level of plot inventiveness. It's a joy! However, you will not appreciate just how much of a joy unless you have read the first three in the serial. Note I said serial and not series. These are NOT standalone books and you will seriously miss out if you do not read them in order.
Patrick Cauldwell
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely better than the third book, which got a little over the top weird for my taste. I think that must have been the common opinion, as this fourth book is essentially a "do over" for the characters. Still a very interesting mix of history and steam punk, with this book having a bit more of the former and a bit less of the latter, possibly. Some interesting tie-ins with contemporary literary works (that's intentionally vague to prevent spoilers) that keep things interesting.
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My weakness for Mark Hodder's awesomeness strikes again! After a slightly (and I stress slightly) disappointing 3rd book, Hodder comes back with a vengeance with this continuance of the tale of explorer Richard Francis Burton and poet Algernon Swinburne. I could not put this book down...literally. I walked around my house reading it and nearly fell down my stairs. If that's not a ringing endorsement, I don't know what is!
Jan 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: steampunk
It's beginning to get to the point where I don't know which timeline Burton and Swinburne are occupying. Characters who were bad are now good, others who died are alive and vice versa. May have to reread in order to get my poor brain around the plot.
Uriah Mach
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After the slightly maddening ending to the previous Burton/Swinburne tale, I was pleased to find this book sufficiently dealing with the utter madness of time travel and how it does the crazy things it does.

In any case, if you enjoyed the others, this one is definitely worth your time.
Benjamin Kahn
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: steam-punk
A pretty good continuation of this series. I've found this series to be hit and miss - liked 2 and 4, so-so on 1 and 3. I finally understand that this series is interlinked - I had been expecting a series of adventures, so when we started this book and here's Burton again, but yet another version of Burton, I was a little frustrated, especially after the way the third one ended. At some point I realized that Hodder has an overarching plot that he's following, and the series began to make a lot ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In this fourth installment of the Burton and Swinburne series, we find Burton in a different timeline from the first three books. In this universe, spiritualism is real, and a supernatural being is set on preventing a British/German alliance. It is up to Burton to hunt down this nosferatu and put a stop to it's plan.

Tipping his hat to classic literature, Hodder uses some familiar plot strains, but instead of weakening the overall book, it adds to it's soundness. As with the previous books, he
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first I was concerned - by shifting the mains character of the book to different versions of themselves it felt at the beginning like it had made all the growth of the previous books redundant. I should have had more faith in Mr. Hodder - he made it work in the end, and the story built well upon what we've seen in previous books to move things along.
Dustan Holland
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
this book is kind of a reboot of the Burton & swinburne series. At first I wasn't too happy about that idea, but it grew on me. the characters are still interesting and the story is still a lot of fun. I love revisiting this world every time.
Martin Willoughby
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just when you think you've got a handle on the series along comes this. Great book.
Jane Walker
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Nearly a 5. It's entertaining and well-written and I would certainly read others in the series.
David Schwan
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Burton and friends continue to bumble through history trying to restore the proper timeline. Plot gets a bit slow in places.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The last Burton & Swinburne adventure I've read and the most mind-bending so far... great fun.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Liked it, but not in a couldn’t put it down sort of way.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another great book in this series.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Far more enjoyable than the last book in the series. Past & future clash again, but this just worked so much better for me & I'm not quite sure why. . .
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Mark Hodder brings us the fourth in his Burton and Swinburne adventures. At the end of the previous book (mountains of the moon) we were left wondering where he could go now, but as always Hodder grabs the readers and drags them along on another exhilarating adventure in this steam-punk world.

Returning from an adventure abroad, one of Burton's companions is found brutally murdered in what appears to be a bizarre ritual involving dark magic and mysterious forces. The murderer is declared insane
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: steampunk
Review from Backchatting Books

I was at a bit of a disadvantage with this book because I hadn't read any of Hodder's earlier works. The world he has created is rich but complex and it took a while to get familiar with the main players. Since Queen Victoria's assassination in 1840, the government has relying on a spirit, Abdu El Yezdi, for political advice. El Yezdi has gone silent however and Sir Richard Francis Burton is charged with finding out what has happened him.

When we begin our tale,
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British writer living in Valencia, Spain.

Becoming the father of twins really slowed my writing down for three years. However, I'm happy to report that it's now returning to its former pace ... high time I got something new into the bookshops. I'm currently working on the final edit of a new SF novel which is the first in what I hope will be a massive new series.

To find out more about it, read a

Other books in the series

Burton & Swinburne (6 books)
  • The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne, #1)
  • The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Burton & Swinburne, #2)
  • Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburne, #3)
  • The Return of the Discontinued Man (Burton & Swinburne, #5)
  • The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats (Burton & Swinburne, #6)