Saturday, September 11, 2010

Scars and The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack reviews

The Strange Affair Of Spring-Heeled Jack
Mark Hodder
PYR, Sep 1 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142407

By 1861, Britain is radically changing due to technology; enhanced by the eugenicists creating specialized beasts to do the labor. Four groups emerge to challenge the power structure. The Libertines demand no laws insisting government impedes creativity; the Rakes agree with no government interference as they are anarchists demanding the use of magic fueled by sex and drugs to create a super human, the Engineers use technology to transform the world into a marvelously polluted realm in their image; and finally the Eugenicists create specialized beasts of burden.

British Prime Minister Lord Pamerston hires Sir Richard Burton, just back from the Nile expedition, to serve as the "King's Spy". His first investigation is to look into the reported sexual assaults by an apparent apparition Spring-Heeled Jack. At the same time Algernon Charles Swinbourne is doing an inquiry of his own. Meanwhile apparently hybrid canine-humans are kidnapping chimney sweeps while terrorizing the East End. Richard also plans to learn what happened to his injured former friend, John Speke, who vanished.

This is a fascinating tongue in cheek alternate historical thriller that grips the reader throughout. The story line pays homage to Dickens and Wells in a setting in which the moral fiber that kept the sun from setting on the Empire is waning from the extremes demanding the establishment of their Eden regardless of the cost to others. As the threads converge into a great twist, readers will want to join Burton and Swinbourne discovering the truth of Mark Hodder’s Victorian England.
Harriet Klausner

Patience Prence
Spring Harvest, Mar 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780982633601

In a concentration camp in what was once the free United States of America, but now is the tyrannical Northern American Union, sixteen years old Rebekah Silver sits in a cell, contemplating how she came to bee here. She was a Southern California high school cheerleader until the earthquake destroyed her home. Becky has seen the tsunamis cause massive devastation eradicating metropolitan New York City and Florida while leaving much of the rest East Coast in ruins.

In a world shattered by natural and man-made catastrophes comes Maitreyes the Prophet whose predictions always come true. He rises in power until he becomes the world’s leader. When he dies, he is resurrected so that most people including Becky’s mom believe he is the Christ. Anyone who fails to believe Maitreyes is God or keeps a bible with them is considered a heretic enemy of the state and sentenced to death. That is how Becky has ended up in a cage as she ponders how strong her faith really is.

Patience Prence’s End of Times saga targets the teen crowd with this fascinating one sitting thriller. Becky was a normal teen worried about passing tests and meeting boys until extraordinary circumstances changed her life. Now she must decide between her faith in the one God, which most likely will make her a martyr no one heard of, or bow to Maitreyes. Her tribulations make for an exciting saga.
Harriet Klausner

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