Monday, May 10, 2010

Edi's Lighthouse Chatter: Burton & Swinburne and Spring-Heeled Jack

Dear Readers,
this is Bona Fide. The keeper of the minutes (Kotm) kindly asked me if I would like to write a post about Burton & Swinburne and Spring-Heeled Jack. Of course I could not resist. I'm not as experienced as ediFanoB but I hope you like what I put together for you.....

In case you read Edi's LighthouseLedger: Read in April - Plan for May 2010, you know that following book is on our reading list:
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
(Snowbooks, UK, April 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-1906727208]
(Pyr, US, September 2010) [ISBN-13: 978-1616142407]
ediFanoB bought a copy of the UK version.
"It is 1861, and Albertian Britain is in the grip of conflicting forces. Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy. Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as "King's Spy". His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured former friend, John Hanning Speke. Accompanied by the diminutive and pain-loving poet, Algernon Swinburne, Burton's investigations lead him back to one of the defining events of the age: the brutal assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840; and the terrifying possibility that the world he inhabits shouldn't exist at all." [Source]
Two publishers that means two different covers.
On the left you see the Snowbooks cover. It is made in the same style as the George Mann books. And I like the style.
A few days ago Lou Anders posted the Pyr cover for the upcoming US version which you see on the right.
I still like the UK cover but at the same time I fell in love with the US cover.

Both covers have a charm on its own. For me the UK cover is the more serious one and the US cover the more dynamic one. I would like to have them both. As a compromise I use the US cover as my new background image on my laptop.

I persuaded ediFanoB to have a first look at the book. And I like what I saw. The chapters are numbered, titled and contain a quote at the beginning. And there is an Appendix at the end. On 17 pages Mark Hodder presents information about persons and places mentioned in the story. I appreciate it very much.

I will not let you go without more information about the Spring-Heeled Jack (also kown as Spring Heeled Jack, Springheel Jack, Spring-heel Jack, etc.), a character from the English folklore. First sighting was made in London in 1837. Last reported sighting has been made in Liverpool 1904.accounts of Spring Heeled Jack were made in London in 1837 and the last reported sighting is said in most of the secondary literature to have been made in Liverpool in 1904.
He was the main character of several penny dreadfuls and of course depicted on the front page like the picture on the right shows. [image sourced here] He was famous for his extraordinary leaps. People have been afraid of his glowing red eyes.

In case you would like to read more about the phantom Spring-Heeled Jack I highly recommend following websites:

As a starter: Spring Heeled Jack at Wikipedia
As main dishes: THE COMPLETE SPRING HEELED JACK PAGE and Springheeled Jack

And for all of you who like it more visual I found following video

Now you should know a bit more about Spring-Heeled Jack. As soon as I (which means I have to push ediFanoB) have read The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder I will write a review for you.
I'm so excited.....

Until then I remain respectfully yours

Bona Fide


Seak (Bryce L.) said...

Love the cover art for both versions. Looks like a really interesting book. Thanks for the heads up.

ediFanoB said...


I really look forward to read and review it.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the review? Still waiting!

ediFanoB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ediFanoB said...


due to unexpected circumstances I had to postpone the review.
I'm in the process of rescheduling my outstanding reviews.
So far I can tell you that my review of the Burton& Swinburne book will be up in July 2010 - either on July 4th or on July 11th.

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