In 1870s London, a city of contradictions and improbabilities, a dead man pilots an airship and living men are willing to risk all to steal a carp. Here, a night of bangers and ale at the local pub can result in an eternity at the Blood Pudding with the rest of the reanimated dead.... A comic science-fiction novel first published in 1986. It took the Philip K Dick award that year, and was the second book in Blaylock's loose steampunk trilogy, following The Digging Leviathan (1984) and preceding Lord Kelvin's Machine (1992).
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In Victorian London, Alice, the wife of scientist-explorer Langdon St. Ives, is murdered by his arch-nemesis, the hunchback Dr. Ignacio Narbondo. St. Ives and his valet, Hasbro, pursue Narbondo across Norway, contesting Narbondo's plot to destroy the earth and, later, efforts to revivify Narbondo's apparently frozen corpse. In the process, St. Ives gains access to a powerful device created by Lord Kelvin, which allows St. Ives to travel through time.
It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives, brilliant buteccentric scientist and explorer, is at home in Aylesford with his family. A few miles to the north a steam launch has been taken by pirates above Egypt Bay, the crew murdered and pitched overboard.In Aylesford itself a grave is opened and possibly robbed of the skull. The suspected grave robber, the infamous Dr. Ignacio Narbondo, is an old nemesis of Langdon St. Ives. When Dr. Narbondo returns to kidnap his four-year-old son Eddie and then vanishes
The collapse of the Victoria Embankment uncovers a passage to an unknown realm beneath the city. Langdon St. Ives sets out to explore it, not knowing that a brilliant and wealthy psychopathic murderer is working to keep the underworld s secrets hidden for reasons of his own.