Mark Hodder

Mark Hodder is the author of the Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK and its seven sequels, and of the first officially sanctioned Sexton Blake novel to have been published in nearly half a century.

Mark created and maintains BLAKIANA: The Sexton Blake Resource, and also writes short stories, flash fiction and vignettes. Find out more on his Patreon page.

Mark was born in the UK. He has worked as a commercial radio scriptwriter, a freelance copywriter, and as a web content producer for the BBC. Since 2009, he has lived in Valencia, Spain, where he writes full-time. He and his partner have twins, Luca and Iris.

Find Mark on his website, or follow him on Twitter @MarkHodderBooks.


  • Standalone
    A Red Sun Also Rises
    Mark Hodder
  • Philip K. Dick Award Winner

    The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (#1)
    Mark Hodder
  • The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (#2)
    Mark Hodder
  • The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (#3)
    Mark Hodder
  • The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi (#4)
    Mark Hodder
  • The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    The Return of the Discontinued Man (#5)
    Mark Hodder
  • The Burton & Swinburne Adventures
    The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats (#6)
    Mark Hodder



A Red Sun Also Rises
“The author of the Philip K. Dick Award-winning Burton & Swinburne series […] launches a new series that features a pair of uncommon-and uncommonly appealing-protagonists and blends the fantastic with elements of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and H.P. Lovecraft. Hodder once again excels in his ability to blend Victorian steampunk, psychological thriller, and ‘sword and planet’ fantasy into an intriguing and entertaining adventure.”

Library Journal

“Hodder has crafted a loving homage to the 19th-century novel with the barest tweaks for a 21st-century sensibility, perfectly capturing the device of the narrator’s diary (with hand-off to present-day editor), natural-philosophy preoccupations, and the struggle between divine and scientific views of creation […] The pacing is as vintage as the vividly imagined grotesqueries of alien life, but the rewards for acclimating to the style are well worth the effort.”

Publishers Weekly

“A Red Sun Also Rises somehow also manages to be an incredibly entertaining, fast-paced page turner […] This strange, surprising novel combines elements of steampunk and planetary adventure in ways I just hadn’t seen done before, and that alone makes it more than worth a look.”

“Utterly authentic and effective, delivering a story that, while it harks back to a vanished era, also incorporates the sensibilities and perspectives of twenty-first-century SF.”

Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine

“Mr. Hodder’s unique take on Victorian sci-fi/horror is at once reminiscent of the past and strikingly modern. It might feature distant planets and bug-eyed monsters, but the plot’s fascinating twists and revelations defy cliche. A layer of philosophical and scientific sophistication underlies the narrative throughout as the true nature of this beautifully intricate alien environment slowly unfolds.”

Florida Weekly

“Hodder is a ferociously genre-savvy author, and one of the delights of this novel is spotting the ways in which he plays with and occasionally subverts his readers’ expectations of various genres and their well-known tropes […] A Red Sun Also Rises is both a clever mashup of genre conventions and an old-fashioned, ripping yarn of otherworldly adventure.”

ForeWord Reviews

“A vivid and interesting premise and an enthusiastic audacity of telling it in period style and trappings.”

SF Signal

“This newly created London becomes a mix of the familiar and the very unfamiliar. More original in concept than Hodder’s earlier books, and more ambitious, but with very much the same tone. At times this felt like an Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure, although obviously with better prose.”

SF Reviews

“[G]reat prose alongside a cracking plot line and of course two characters that I just wanted to spend time around and for me, this hit the nail bang on the head as one of the debut releases for Del Rey UK.”

Falcata Times

“What really sold this book for me was the attention to all the little details […] Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for an action packed science fiction romp.”

The Eloquent Page

“(The setting is a) deeply weird but unambiguously wonderful world.”

The Speculative Scotsman

“This – in the best tradition of the genre – is certainly action-packed and Hodder manages many nods to the original derring-do adventure stories…”


“Mark Hodder’s writing style is equal to his wonderful imagination, witty dialogues reminiscent of Charles Dickens loosen up the action, right alongside the scientific and philosophical ideas that are entrenched in the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would love to read more adventures of Clarissa and Aiden.”


The Burton & Swinburne Adventures

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (#1)
“If you’re looking for a cold night’s entertainment, this high-spirited mix of fact and fancy will do quite nicely, quite nicely indeed.”

The Washington Post

“Remarkable [...] A rollicking ride through the underbelly of the steampunk world.”

Portland Book Review

“Worthy of any science fiction library.”


“The usual superlatives for really clever fantasy (imaginative, mind-bending, phantasmagorical) aren’t nearly big enough for this debut novel. With this one book, Hodder has put himself on the genre map […] The book is incredibly ambitious, and the author pulls it off like an old pro: not only is the setting exciting and fresh, the story is thrilling and full of surprises. Hodder’s only problem now is to find a way to follow up this exhilarating debut, which will appeal not only to sf/fantasy readers but also to mystery and historical-fiction fans.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“Fans of steampunk will be intrigued by the alternate history setting, in which the queen dies mid-century; they will also enjoy following Burton and his sidekick, poet Algernon Swinburne, as they investigate the dark secrets of 19th-century England and recall Burton’s legendary expedition to find the source of the Nile.”

Publishers Weekly

“Hodder’s first novel delivers an exquisitely fleshed-out blend of steam-punk and gothic horror that should have broad appeal.”

Library Journal

“Mark Hodder’s debut novel, THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK, is a remarkably sophisticated and well-executed manifestation of the [steampunk] sub-genre […] He has created a compulsively readable romp that recalls the best of Tim Powers and James Blaylock.”

Barnes & Noble Newsletter

“A phenomenal first novel deserving of the recently won Philip K. Dick Award […] If this is the “punk” Hodder wants to see steampunk look like, then I say with Oliver Twist, “Please, sir, I want some more.”

“Many of the events that occur in the narrative are drawn from real-life history, and Hodder’s use of a twisted timeline as explanation is ingenious. Plus, there are werewolves. What’s not to love?”

Wisconsin State Journal

“I loved the thrills and chills, and my inner historian geeked out all over to see Burton and Swinburne together (Hodder hews quite closely to Burton’s biography, which raises the novel’s impact several notches), but it’s the way the mystery comes together that kept me turning the pages. Start this one only if you have some time on your hands; it won’t be easy to put it down.”


“Hodder’s debut is genius. I don’t think there are very many other ways to put it. His plotting is intricate and intriguing, his voice is superb, the characters are engaging and original and all of it is so unexpectedly fun. There is no better adjective to describe such all-around greatness. Genius.”

LEC Book Reviews

“Debut novelist Mark Hodder outrageously reinvents both Victorian England and pulp fiction in the guise of a complicated time-travel novel.”

Fantasy Magazine

“I’ve never read anything quite like THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK before, and my guess is neither have you. Imagine the best time travel story you’ve ever read crossed with the greatest B-movie ever filmed crossed with one of the most intelligently crafted, richly detailed alternate histories ever composed crossed with any number of oddball delights and shrewd political and social satire to boot, and you might have some idea of how ingenious this novel is.”

Rob Will Review

“This was a blast of alternate Victoriana, peppered with a cast who veered from credible to Dick Van Dyke and back again.”

SF Site

“An enjoyable read, the pleasures of spending time in a slightly altered past are all here, the characterizations of everyday people, and the heroes, are spot on, and there’s plenty of adventure along the way.”

SF Site

“The Spring Heeled Jack mythos is used to great effect […] If you like time travel and alternative history this would definitely be worth your attention and if you are just a plain-old fan of Steampunk this is another must to add to the to-read pile.”

The Mad Hatter, Best Steampunk novel of the year, 2010

“Hodder’s prose will lift you up and drop you down in the midst (and mists) of Victorian Era London […] SPRING HEELED JACK never once failed to entertain.”

The Alternative

“Mark Hodder’s THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK takes the grandfather paradox and runs with it in spectacular fashion […] This book was an absolute hoot to read. It’s wild. It’s inventive. It’s gripping. I can only hope that Hodder’s future books measure up to this one, because THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK will be damned hard to top.”

Textual Frigate

“THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK is a delicious mystery wrapped in a time of social change in an alternative steampunk Victorian age […] This book managed to seem light despite its dark tones, gave brilliant life to historical figures and social worries while adding unique touches all Hodder’s own.”

Bookworm Blues

“THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK is richly detailed, complex and exciting […] I eagerly await the sequel.”

Literary Landscapes

“One of the very best examples of this (steampunk) genre is Mark Hodder’s THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK […] The book masterfully combines historical fact with an imaginative and well-developed alternate world, full of real people, like Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, and Oscar Wilde. Time travel, speculative science, and bioengineered animals, a smart and witty plot, plus plenty of action and adventure give this book wide appeal. Readers who enjoy historical fiction and would like to branch out into science fiction should try this book, which stays true to both genres.”

By the Book

“It’s like reading a Dickens novel with ray guns […] Hodder’s sequel THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE CLOCKWORK MAN is due out this March, and this reader is definitely looking forward to seeing where he goes with the series.”

Worlds Without End

“An inventive melting pot of speculative fiction staples that should intrigue and satisfy even the most jaded genre readers […] Mark Hodder’s take on steampunk is fresh and entertaining.”

Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

“In THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK, Hodder has combined what never happened with what did take place, to wonderful effect […] Burton and Swinburn make an excellent (if somewhat unpredictable) team, and the story is nonstop action.”

Steampunk Librarian

“Hodder renders the atmosphere of this story in wonderful detail, allowing the reader to be sucked into the world […] I’ll enjoy every moment of adventure set in this one.”

The Reader Eclectic

“Urban legends, creatures out of folklore, and real life heroes converge in Mark Hodder’s fantastic debut novel […] Great fun indeed, and an impressive debut.”

SFF World

“Hodder’s SPRING HEELED JACK is bloody brilliant […] His smoggy London is full of mad scientists and of marvels and engineering, edgy and dangerous.”

The Little Red Reviewer

“THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK is a truly inventive fantasy that gratifies the reader […] the Burton and Swinburne series could really go places.”

Dirty Sexy Books

“Would-be steampunk writers will now have to work double duty to top this one! […] A rip roaring good yarn! Douglas Adams would have been proud.”

Astro Guyz

“THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK, I’m happy to say, does not disappoint […] Hodder does a good job of portraying the seedy side of London, especially during Butron’s trips into the poorer parts of town; we get a more honest sense of how much of the population lives, it seems to me than we often do in these sort of novels.”

“THE STRANGE AFFAIR OF SPRING HEELED JACK is fun, plain and simple. It is fun to see Hodder take familiar historical characters such as Burton, Queen Victoria, and even Florence Nightingale, and twist them into their alternate selves, living in a world half-crazed by moral and technological dilemmas.”

“Like something out of Tom Baker-era Doctor Who, ‘Burton and etc.’ is utterly non-stop. Hodder has his way with both history and historical figures, but manages to be entertainingly informative and thrillingly over-the-top.”

Agony Column

“A most worthy winner. Takes the Steampunk genre and instead on ringing on changes already overplayed, fuses Steampunk with British history, time travel, alternate history and more into a novel that is a joy to read.”

Functional Nerds

“This is an exhilarating romp through a witty combination of nineteenth-century English fact and fiction. Mark Hodder definitely knows his stuff and has given us steam opera at its finest […] A great, increasingly complex plot, some fine characters, and invention that never flags! It gets better and better, offering clues to some of Victorian London’s strangest mysteries. This is the best debut novel I have read in ages.”

Michael Moorcock

“Mark Hodder makes clever use of a variety of elements to create an atmospheric story that is part steampunk, part mystery story, part detective adventure.”

Fantasy Guide (Germany)

“Mark Hodder has a thoroughly enjoyable and fluid style. We practically devoured his book and can only recommend the second installment in his Burton & Swinburne series.”

Fachbuchkritic (Germany)

“Mark Hodder clearly stands out in the current glut of Fantasy writing. He is a deft and amusing juggler of historical figures, references and philosophies, creating a dark and bizarre mix of the past, the future and the important issues of the present.”

Coburger Tageblatt (Coburg, Germany)

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (#2)
”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

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (#3)
“Hodder, with an encyclopedic grasp of period detail, tellingly brings these disparate, oddly familiar yet eerily different worlds to fecund life. Enthralling, dizzying and as impressive as they come.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“This isn’t just a book for steampunk enthusiasts, though they will certainly enjoy this work [...] It will also entertain anyone interested in a pair of characters as fun as Sherlock and Watson.”

Portland Book Review

“The […] cognitive dissonance, relativism, and rapid obsolescence feel more slipstream than steampunk. Hard SF fans may get impatient, but everyone else will be well entertained.”

Publishers Weekly

“My favorite so far […] I am getting very fond of these characters.”

Critical Mass

“The entire series has done to the Steampunk genre what The Sopranos did for gangster movies […] in each case, both series have taken all of the best elements of their respective genres and wrapped them up in one comprehensive package.”

Astro Guyz

“Overall, Mark Hodder’s Burton and Swinburne trilogy has been one of the few pleasures of [steampunk] genre literature. When goggles and the anti-authority scamps who wear them is a primary scenario and plot-driver of most books, his meditation on time, fate, Scientism, Libertarianism, and the malleability of personhood by historic contingency is positively delightful.”

Voyages Extraordinaires

“Epic masterpiece […] I definitely recommend.”

Steampunk Chronicle

“As with our previous outings with Burton and Swinburne, characterization is great, pacing is break-neck, and imagination soars through the stratosphere. […] Awesome. Just awesome. What more can I say? Buy these books. Read them multiple times. May this only be the beginning of [Hodder’s] long and illustrious career.”

Elitist Book Reviews

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi (#4)
“Intricate worldbuilding.”

Publishers Weekly

“Steampunk aficionados and series fans should enjoy this.”

Library Journal

“Those new to steampunk, wondering what all the goggles and airships are about, or steampunk superfans, make sure to read this. [So should] those simply looking for a fun read with solid characters, rip roaring plot, and explorations of Victorian occultism.”

Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

“Burton & Swinburne books to continue in amazing new adventure of intrigue and mayhem! […] Hodder has earned himself a permanent spot in my rank of favorites. The next book of this series can’t come soon enough, and yet all I can do is wait. Like a phoenix that burns to ash as it rises anew, EL YEZDI provides both an end and beginning to a story whose doors I never want to close.”

Elitist Book Review

“The plot of THE SECRET OF ABDU EL YEZDI is highly complex, brimming with mystery and intrigue, but what really makes this a keeper is the mind-blowing twist. Hodder really knows how to spin a fantastic tale while combining multiple genres.”

Book Loons Reviews

“I am astounded and floored by this series and I heartily enjoyed this fourth entry. People, I really, really loved this book.”

Summer Reading Project

“Not only has Hodder done some amazing world building here, but he’s created a mythology that is morphing from book to book as he twists and pulls the timeline with some creative interference from more than one key character.”

Geek Dad

“Serious literary fun as Mark Hodder vaults to the front of the new steampunk writers pack […] Hard to imagine any lover of alternate British empires not being thoroughly amazed and entertained.”


“Well written as always.”

Don D’Ammassa

The Return of the Discontinued Man (#5)
“There’s more than enough adventure, intrigue, invention, fun and engagement to satisfy everybody.”


“Hodder puts his knack for tall-tale spinning on full display, with such Victorian England celebrities as Herbert Spencer and H. G. Wells rubbing elbows with each other in one imaginative and enthralling scenario after another. Hodder’s growing legion of fans won’t be disappointed.“


“[Readers] will be riveted by Hodder’s ingenious reinventing of both history and recent present, while quailing at what that reimagining does to the future.”

Publishers Weekly

“The story is enhanced by a strong element of social commentary […] the series could comfortably end here, but some very intriguing possibilities are left open for future adventures with Burton and Swinburne. Recommended.”

Steampunk Canada

“It’s a clash of Victorian sensibilities meets Haight-Ashbury hipsters! […] we’d love to see the Burton and Swinburne saga get picked up as a TV or movie series for development. Seriously, it’s that good.”

Astro Guyz

The Rise of the Automated Aristocrats (#6)
“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


The Burton & Swinburne Adventures

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (#1)

Winner 2010 Philip K. Dick Award

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (#2)

Forbidden Planet: “Top 25 of 2011”

Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon (#3)

Sidewise Award Finalist: “Alternate History”