A retro review from July 8, 2012 …
Review: The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder, 2011.
I’ll tread lightly in describing this book so as not to spoil Hodder’s grotesque, sometimes humorous, mix of messed up history, altered Victorian notables, occultism, and marvels of steam-powered and genetic engineering. I will say there are plenty of marvels apart from those listed in the book’s description.
If you’re new to Hodder, you can jump into the series with this book. In fact, the only flaw in the book is Hodder’s courtesy in getting the reader unfamiliar with the preceding volume, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, up to speed slows things a bit. Even if you haven’t read the third and last volume in the series (which I have), it’s clear this is an important link in the story with the conclusion foreshadowing what is to come in the third book. Again, Hodder provides an afterword covering most of the violence he’s done to our nineteenth century timeline.
I didn’t like this book quite as well as its predecessor just because I didn’t find the titular clockwork man and the controversy (taken from actual history) of the Tichborne claimant quite as interesting as the Spring Heeled Jack legend, but, if you love complicated stories with lots of interesting asides, this is the book for you.
And the cover is pretty snazzy on this one too.