Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi-Mark Hodder

The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi

Mark Hodder

PYR, Jul 9 2013, $18.00

ISBN 9781616147778

In 1840, an assassin murdered Queen Victoria. Since the royal’s untimely death a couple of decades ago, a small oligopoly runs the British Empire with their prime advisor being Abdu El Yezdi, a dead mystic communicating with these rational men from the Afterlife.

Known for solving the mystery of the Nile, explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton heads to England struggling with his sense of reality. While he journeys home, the British Empire and the Greater German Confederation negotiate an alliance. However before the pact can be signed, Florence Nightingale, Charles Babbage, ruling cabal member Isambard Kingdom Brunel and other notable scientists and engineers vanish. Notified of the vanishings Burton receives a king’s agent appointment to locate Abdu El Yezdi, who has stopped communicating as if this spirit disappeared too. The case turns personal when Burton’s friends and family begin to disappear in an eerie manner that links to the muted Abdu El Yezdi.

The latest Burton & Swinburne Adventure (see Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon, The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man and The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack) is an exciting alternative historical Victorian era with a strong paranormal element. The storyline is fast-paced and captures the essence of the British Empire’s white man’s burden colonization rationalization that Burton rigidly believes. However, the time-altering plot is extremely thin though fun to follow as Burton must protect those he cherishes, communicate with a silent ghost and figure out what is real and what is a hallucination.

Harriet Klausner

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