A few months ago, I posted a review of a book by Mark Hodder which was the third book in a series that the book I’m going to review today begins. While it wasn’t too bad to read them out-of-order, now that I’ve read this book, I wish I had begun with this one. It starts with the main character Sir Richard Francis Burton about to speak at an event in London when he finds out that one of his main rivals has been shot. As this rival had formally been a friend, his mind goes back to when their rift had first begun six years previously in Africa. The action then commences in London where the majority of the story takes place.

This story was fascinating to me in that it proposed an alternate history for several major historical personalities such as Sir Richard Francis Burton, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Laurence Oliphant, Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Oscar Wilde, John Hanning Speke, and others. I especially enjoyed the character from the future and how his actions in the past affected everyone else and made the future spin-off in a different direction affecting history himself as the character Spring-Heeled Jack.  Alternate histories have always been fascinating to me, and the research the author did for this book was done well.

If you are a fan of the steam punk/alternate history genre, you will enjoy this book and the following ones in the series.