The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (#2)

Previous: The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack | Next: Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon

It is 1862, though not the 1862 it should be. . . . 

Time has been altered, and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the king’s agent, is one of the few people who know that the world is now careening along a very different course from that which Destiny intended. 

When a clockwork-powered man of brass is found abandoned in Trafalgar Square, Burton and his assistant, the wayward poet Algernon Swinburne, find themselves on the trail of the stolen Garnier Collection—black diamonds rumored to be fragments of the Lemurian Eye of Naga, a meteorite that fell to Earth in prehistoric times. 

His investigation leads to involvement with the media sensation of the age: the Tichborne Claimant, a man who insists that he’s the long lost heir to the cursed Tichborne estate. Monstrous, bloated, and monosyllabic, he’s not the aristocratic Sir Roger Tichborne known to everyone, yet the working classes come out in force to support him. They are soon rioting through the streets of London, as mysterious steam wraiths incite all-out class warfare. 

From a haunted mansion to the Bedlam madhouse, from South America to Australia, from séances to a secret labyrinth, Burton struggles with shadowy opponents and his own inner demons, meeting along the way the philosopher Herbert Spencer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Florence Nightingale, and Charles Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Can the king’s agent expose a plot that threatens to rip the British Empire apart, leading to an international conflict the like of which the world has never seen? And what part does the clockwork man have to play? 


”An utterly delicious helter-skelter romp through a mind-blowing steampunk diorama […] Highly recommended for any steampunk fan and for any reader who’s looking for an out-of-the-norm read.”

Sacramento Book Review

“Hodder knows Victorian history well enough to take delightful liberties in a darkly humorous adventure that should appeal to genre fans as well as those interested in alternate histories.”

Library Journal

“Hodder blends gonzo gadgetry with humor, strong character voice, social commentary, and a comprehensive awareness of the historical implications of his ideas […] Imagine Gail Carriger’s humor and Cherie Priest’s kick-ass adventure wrapped up in one book, and you get Hodder’s CLOCKWORK MAN.”

“This book had so many high points […] Burton continues to get better, and I was absolutely enthralled by his character.”

Elitist Book Reviews

“An inventive melting pot of speculative fiction staples that should intrigue and satisfy genre readers everywhere.”

Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

“As the second chapter of a trilogy, Hodder follows the pattern with distinction […] Hodder excitedly sets up his alternate 19th century and certainly left this reader filled with anticipation for how, and if, the machinations of Spring Heeled Jack will be undone.”

Voyages Extraordinaires

“Overall THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN was a wonderful story […] It combined mystery with mysticism and technology in a way that made sense.”

Literary Escapism

“THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN is a fast-paced book that will delight anyone who is a big fan of Steampunk or twisted versions of British history.”

Bull Spec

“The world that Hodder has created is delightfully complicated and stands up to the terrific mystery. It’s the kind of book, I think, that would make other writers jealous.”

Textual Frigate

“THE CLOCKWORK MAN stands on its own and gives you a fascinating history lesson besides.”

Astro Guyz

“After the inventive first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, it was hard to imagine anything matching its clever blend of technological invention, topsy-turvy history and social awareness […] I’m pleased to say CLOCKWORK MAN delivers […] A more individualistic, even anarchistic, series I have yet to see.”

Night Owl Reviews

“I don’t know if I want Hodder to keep working around well-ish known British folklore, or go crazy to the nth degree in this steampunk mad science sandbox he’s created, but whatever he chooses, I’ll be there.”

Little Red Reviewer

“THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN (A+, highly recommended) is an excellent book.”

Fantasy Book Critic

“THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN equates and even surpasses its predecessor in all respects […] An excellent continuation of the Burton & Swinburne adventures and a solid standalone, [it] is an enticing display of what steampunk can achieve.”

LEC Book Reviews

“A most delightful steampunk universe that is so well-wrought readers will be ill-disposed to the world as we know it […] Hodder clearly knows how to move adroitly between the real and the unreal. His fictional versions of real-life characters are as compelling as his weird science […] Readers will surely want to be with Hodder when midnight strikes.”

The Agony Column

“One of the strongest voices in second wave steampunk fiction.”

Steampunk Scholar, Best of 2011

Awards & Accolades


Forbidden Planet: “Top 25 of 2011”