Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, linguist, scholar, and swordsman. His reputation has been tarnished, his career is in tatters, and his former partner is missing and probably dead. Algernon Charles Swinburne is an unsuccessful poet and follower of de Sade, for whom pain is pleasure and brandy is ruin. The two men are sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum, when Lord Palmerston commissions Burton to investigate assaults on young women.
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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 of black diamonds.
Africa, 1863. Sir Richard Francis Burton is an explorer, a linguist, a scholar, and the king's agent - or is he a puppet being manipulated by forces he cannot understand? A race to find the source of the Nile! Algernon Charles Swinburne is a famous young flame-haired poet, thrill-seeker, and follower of the Marquis de Sade. Here they are, back to where the adventure began. It is 1863, but not the one it should be. Time has veered wildly off course, and moves are being made that will lead to a devastating world war.
Burton and Swinburne return in a new series! The Beast is coming. History will be remade. Since the assassination of Queen Victoria in 1840, a cabal of prominent men - including King George V, HRH Prince Albert, Benjamin Disraeli, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel - has received guidance from the afterlife. The spirit of a dead mystic, Abdu El Yezdi, has helped them to steer the empire into a period of unprecedented peace and creativity. But on the eve of a groundbreaking alliance with the newly formed Greater German Confederation, scientists, surgeons, and engineers are being abducted - including Brunel!