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The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi: A Burton & Swinburne Adventure    by Mark Hodder order for
Secret of Abdu El Yezdi
by Mark Hodder
Order:  USA  Can
Prometheus, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

According to Goodreads, The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi is the fourth Burton & Swinburne Adventure; however, according to the press on The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi, it is the start of a new series. I took this to mean it was the start of a new story arc, but that author Mark Hodder had a lot more in store.

Having found the source of the Nile, explorer Richard Burton wants nothing more than to return home to England, marry Isabel (his fiancée of eight years), and then get a station in Damascus. He manages to arrive back in England, but that is when his plans change. Shortly after being knighted, he is called into a secret meeting with King George V and given a special assignment.

It seems that the spiritual being that has been guiding England, Abdu El Yezdi, has fallen silent and a dozen mediums have died trying to contact him. On top of that, many important inventors and scientists have been kidnapped. Burton is assigned the task of finding out what happened to Adbu El Yezdi. Little does he know that along the way, he will encounter time travelers, nosferatu, and a crazy drunk poet named Algernon Swinburne.

The steampunk alternate England that Hodder imagines is so rooted in historical fact that it is easy to imagine it could exist – even when things get turned on their head. 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.

The Secret of Adbu El Yezdi can indeed be enjoyed without having read the previous three Burton & Swinburne adventures, but after doing so, you will definitely want to check out Mark Hodder's earlier works. I, personally, look forward to reading them, as well as whatever Hodder has in store next for the explorer and poet.

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