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The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man

(Burton & Swinburne #2)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,208 ratings  ·  301 reviews
It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be. . . .

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king’s agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended.

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet
Paperback, 355 pages
Published March 2011 by Pyr (first published 2011)
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Grimread Absolutely not. If you start reading this series, take the time to read is through whole. to much time and books in between will make you loose the…moreAbsolutely not. If you start reading this series, take the time to read is through whole. to much time and books in between will make you loose the feel for it and you might forget the key points that happened in the previous one. Speaking from experience. (less)

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This book answers a question that few readers have ever bothered to ask: just how many fantasy elements can you cram into a short steampunk novel, anyway? The answer? Quite a few! We have (view spoiler) and probably some others I’ve forgotten. This doesn’t count the rather fantastical technology.

This book was about as crazy and fun as the first book. For anybody who read the first book and was annoyed that its science
Burton & Swinburne are two drunken sots.....

Well thats how the story starts in the Royal Geographical Society & as they’ve off for some coffee to try & sober up the adventure begins with the discovery of said Bronze clockwork man by a Constable & Inspector Trouncer who makes a return from the first episode – Soon the fiendish plot is afoot with old foe the Eviiiil Isambard Kingdom Brunel & hotfoot in pursuit we are quickly reintroduced to the mechanical/clockwork world with
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
I ended up picking up this book as a part of the Booktubeathon 2015 as the 'book I really want to read' challenge and I have to say I am very happy that I did chose this one because not only was it highly exciting and fun to get through, but returning to this world and these characters made me so very happy again.

This book once more focuses on the character of Sir Francis Burton, the famous explorer, and his good friend Swinburne as they become mixed up once more in the troubles and mysteries
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is what would have happened if Sir Richard Burton, Algernon Swinburne, Lord Palmerston, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale and the young Oscar Wilde had collided in a futuristic Victoriana where fantastic steam devices were commonplace on every smog-subsumed by-way.

(So this is what would have happened if George MacDonald Fraser had written the Flashman books with a proper hero, an interest in science fiction and far less reverence for the actual course of history.)

Aug 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Steam-punk fans
I got this at a Border's Going-out-of-Business sale (solely because it has the coolest cover art I've ever seen), only to later realize it was the second in a series, so I had to read the first one before reading this one. After finishing the first book, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, I was even more excited to read this sequel.

It picked up right where the first left off, with a new case that echoed back to the events in the first book. Where the first book was a steam-punk book with
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Spencer by: Annecdavis
First off, I must declare my want to grow a proper mustachio. Or are they mustachios? Whatever they are, mine should be proper, what what! Fast paced and brilliantly visual. My mother-in-law pegged me for this one, and she was precisely correct in her recommendation as well as her comment "reads like a graphic novel." This series is a great, uh, riff on historical personalities and the character arcs are have much more curve than many of Ye Olde mysteries. Putting this one back on the shelf near ...more
I liked the first one better. I am not sure why. There is some lovely imaginative work here though
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A lot less confusing than book one.

Some brilliant ideas like the non lethal pistol.

A lot of liberties taking with Victorian figure in very strange ways.

Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochistic poets, reanimated heirs, time-traveling Russians
The second book in a series, set in an alternate-history steampunk England. This time, Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne are up against ghosts, family curses, Professor Charles Babbage, and manipulators of time and space, in what seems to be unwinding as an epic story presenting an existential threat to the British Empire. It reminds me a lot of Ian Tregillis's Milkweed Triptych trilogy.

This is a thick, meaty adventure in a genre I'm not usually that interested in (steampunk), but I enjoyed
ᴥ Irena ᴥ

There are a number of things which connect this book with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, so some spoilers are inevitable (at least for the first book).

When Spring Heeled Jack had altered time, he changed the original future. One of the main questions in this book is "When you take route A over route B, does route B cease to exist?". It seems that is not the case. Each time Spring Heeled Jack jumped, he disturbed what was supposed to happen, but that didn't mean the original events or
The second in the Burton and Swinburne adventures, this is the sequel to the debut novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack , which introduced us to the adventures of Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne. Again, Hodder drapes his story over actual historical events – using them as the basis for his story, but never being afraid to let the story trample all over the historical accuracy. His trick for this is based in the events of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack – the Albertian ...more
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
“The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man” is the second book in the Burton and Swinburne steampunk series by Mark Hodder.

I wasn’t expecting the book to be as good as the first, “The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack”. It wasn’t. It was even better.

The characters of Sir Richard Burton and Algernon Swinburne have rounded out quite a bit. Burton seems to be a little less dark, and Swinburne is just as enchantingly perverted as before, with added sarcasm.

This story revolves around black diamonds
Jason Pettus
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I always have to tread lightly when it comes to reviewing novels written in the steampunk style; because this is a genre I'm a real sucker for, which means that I will give even subpar books in this genre a higher score than a lot of people feel they deserve, simply because I enjoy wallowing in the
Jan 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british
this book is being given five stars for no apparent reason. I think mostly because it's awesomeness makes me want to jump up and down and force it on people on the street. Of course I cannot do that because they need to read the spring heeled jack book first, otherwise I swear... I did in fact even mail the spring heeled jack one to my ex-boyfriend (a new copy since I sent mine to joel) because from past experience I know if I mail him the first of a series he will buy and read the rest of the ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it liked it
The second of the Burton and Swinburne adventures and although some of the elements of the first book that were so funny and original are now not original they are still funny and the pace of the plot is fast enough to keep you hooked. It's a series you definitely want to start at the beginning I think in order to get the full enjoyment from the characters but it remains to be seen whether Hodder can pull it off in the third book, which I believe is already out. Unlike Christopher Fowler's ...more
Jimm Wetherbee
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
If you think you know what class warfare is, think again. A bit of perspective, let us take a look at that sensation of Victorian England, The Tichborne Affair. Roger Tichborne was the son of the baron, Sir James Tichborne, and heir to the estate. Roger was lost at sea in 1854 and presumed dead, save that his mother would not accept this. In 1862 (after Sir James' death) Arthur Orton, a bankrupt butcher from Australia, came forward to claim the title . Never mind that Orton barely resembled ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I also enjoyed this one. But not as much as the first. This one was still a page-turning steampunk adventure, but the plot and ideas felt more all-over-the-place and messy. In addition to mechanical and genetic advances to science, this volume adds supernatural factors that differentiate this version of 19th century Britain from the historical version. This story dealt with Spiritualism, mediums, astral projection and other such topics. But ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in the alternate history/fantasy/steampunk series featuring Sir Richard Francis Burton and his sidekick, poet Algernon Swinburne. In the first book, a time traveler altered time. Queen Victoria was assassinated and Prince Albert was made king. Steam mechanisms of all kinds – including flying chairs (helicopter style) are being invented and used. Genetic manipulation is being put to use, too, creating jumbo horses, parakeets that deliver messages in between bouts of fluent ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was my second Burton/Swinburne steampunk adventure, having read Springheel Jack about a year ago, this time opting for the audiobook version. Gerard Doyle's narration is superb; I wish I could say the same about the book. To me, it was too long and contained too much: Steam-powered clockwork machines, bio-engineered animals, ghosts, zombies, time-travel, mind-control, seances, cyborgs. I'm sure there's a kitchen sink in there, too, although I don't recall if it's steam-powered or a ...more
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2011-reads
Awesome, Awesome Awesome!!!

Can't wait to read the next Burton & Swinburne adventure

It started with an excellent debut.
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack
is the intelligent, terrific, magnificent
and fulminating hooray into the world of steampunk novels.

And now it continues with a sequel on the next level of inventiveness and execution.
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man
is a world full of bizarre characters, phat steam-driven technology, mysterious mysteries and unbelievable
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent! Polite British can you not like that?
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This series is awesome. Hodder delivers some wacky stuff, and I love it. I also love all of the historical figures incorporated into the story. Hodder delivers an insane story while giving you the opportunity to learn some more about the Victorian era. Burton and Swinburne are great characters as well. This series is great!
This book is an excellent follow-up to the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne #1). More than just a sequel, it continues themes and storylines, answers questions, and ties up some threads from the first book that I hadn't even thought of as incomplete, because the first book was so satisfying.

The story continues in the wonderful alternate universe created in the first book, with many of the same characters and plenty of new ones as well.
Christian Freed
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hands down, not only does this series have the best cover art I've seen in decades, each book introduces actual people from Victorian England and throws them into an alternate setting. Ingenious is an understatement. I doubt Swinburne and Burton were as interesting in real life though. A witty blend of steam punk, history, and fantasy, Hodder sets a great tale with plenty of twists, blistering paced action, and makes you think just a little more about what might have happened when...
May 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: cbriii
Mark Hodder’s tales of Burton and Swinburne are some of the least focused but most entertaining steampunk novels out there. Book two of the series does little to improve on the formula of its predecessor, but the electricity is crackling away. The Clockwork Man is a messy, fundamentally flawed adventure, which nevertheless keeps you turning the pages until the very end. It is steampunk fluff, but if you can deal the lack of literary merit, its still a fun little romp through Hodder’s twisted ...more
Willem van den Oever
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man” continues right where the excellent “The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack” ended: in an alternative 1860’s where explorer Richard Burton has been commissioned by the British prime minister to act as the King’s agent, a secret-service type role which has him investigating cases which even Scotland Yard can’t handle.
This time around, the discovery of a mysterious brass man and the theft of black diamonds kicks off another adventure where Victorian class
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
4 Stars

First let me say that Hodder's first two novels are an absolute joy to read. These are steampunk science fiction detective stories that are lead by a unique pair in Swineburne and Burton. A poet and a detective with a love of adventure.

The first book really worked because it developed our loveable protagonists and it also had an awkward antagonist that one might feel sorry for. The world building and alt history play make these books a blast to read. The first book had some structure
Jared Millet
By Jove, I love Mark Hodder. Once again he's set the bar that all other steampunk ought to be measured by. One - he knows his history. Two - he knows how to spin a fantastic adventure. Three - he's completely nuts. Gone are the exploding werewolves of the first book in this series, only to be replaced by a behemoth, flesh-eating rabblerouser, ghosts made of steam, and unfailingly polite zombies.

This book starts off at a slower burn than the first installment, but rises through several
Richard Wright
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Bismillah! I was hoping this series would grow into itself, and it certainly has. Book two, and I'm hooked. Another plot which on the surface includes temporal manipulation, this time throwing a sort of weaponised spiritualism and class warfare into the mix, along with the mandatory grave threats to His Majesty's Empire. With the altered Steampunk world of yesteryear established in the first volume, the author allows the cast of secondary characters to step up throughout the novel (sidelining ...more
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Clockwork Man continues and expands on the Spring Heeled Jack story with which the author debuted; in a quite changed world of 1862, Sir Francis Burton now king's investigator and his assistant Algernon Swinburne, plus a motley cast including beggar/philosopher Herbert Spencer, various policemen and special agents of the Crown have to deal with new threats to "life as we know it" different from the events in the first volume, but related in subtle ways .

Starting innocuously with a robbery,
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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)
  • Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (Burton & Swinburne, #3)
  • The Secret of Abdu El-Yezdi (Burton & Swinburne, #4)
  • The Return of the Discontinued Man (Burton & Swinburne, #5)
  • The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats (Burton & Swinburne, #6)
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