The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats (#6)

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Time is twisted, worlds are changed, and fates are intertwined in this thrilling final chapter of the Burton & Swinburne Adventures from Philip K. Dick Award-winning author Mark Hodder.

In 1890 the renowned adventurer and explorer Sir Richard Burton could sense his impending death…

Until he was suddenly alive, young and strong in the year 1864—a past that he remembers well, but which is definitely different from what he previously lived through. Burton’s amazement is heightened when he is reunited with his loyal friend, the eccentric poet Algernon Swinburne, who is equally nonplussed at being somehow transported into his former self at the moment of death.

Before long, Burton and Swinburne—joined by many of their brave compatriots—find themselves once again being pulled to and fro by the streams of time in an adventure that may decide the fate of humanity.

For while Burton, Swinburne and company have employed time travel to save the empire and her subjects, that technology has now fallen into the wrong hands. England’s ruling class are transforming Burton and Swinburne’s beloved England into a nightmare where those in power—along with their merciless clockwork enforcers—oppress and enslave the masses.

And now, Burton and his friends will have to find a way to heal the damage time travel has done to the world if they are ever going to save it…


“Remarkable [...] The settings are marvelously realized – literally so – from the crimson jungle-choked London of the year 2202, to the bizarre steam-powered ‘ornithopters’ of an 1861.”

Daily Mail (UK)

“A fitting and fiery conclusion [...] Comic absurdity blends with bone-cracking brutality as [...] Victorian-era London [is reduced] to the dystopian wretchedness that Burton and Swinburne previously averted. This luridly realized vision of brutality, and Burton’s corresponding descent into despondency, add a layer of gloom. But Swinburne’s yelping, twitching buoyancy is a surprisingly effective tonic and a reminder of why the pairing of these two mismatched figures has been such a success.“

Publishers Weekly

“An action-packed finale that delves deep into the backstory and personal history of heroes Burton and Swinburne as they explore alternate pasts and futures [...] The entire series will be welcomed by readers who also enjoy the adventures of Books and Braun in Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris’s 'Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences' series.“

Library Journal

Awards & Accolades