The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack is the first novel in the Burton & Swinburne trilogy by award-winning steampunk author, Mark Hodder, and the recipient of the 2010 Phillip K. Dick Award.The series follows the adventures of two Victorian-era protagonists based on two noted historical figures, Richard Francis Burton & Algernon Charles Swinburne situated in mid-late 19th Century London.
While the series is framed as an alternate history, it takes place in actual locations such as the Cannibal Club and London’s East End, and involves many notable personalities of the era, such as Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin, and explorer John Hanning Speke. It also centres around factual historical events; namely, the Spring-Heeled Jack case, the assassination attempt on Queen Victoria in 1840,the search for the source of the Nile and the dawn of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
( Source: Wikipedia )
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.