I have to admit one thing about Arthur Slade’s The Hunchback Assignments series – They’re consistent; in that I consistently love every book. The Hunchback Assignments was my favourite book in 2009. The Dark Deeps was a rollicking good ride, and I adored it. And the third book, Empire of Ruins, is just as good as the previous two.
People are turning up mad in Britain. When Mr. Socrates and the Permanent Association investigate they turn up something rather odd – an ancient Egyptian temple rumoured to be found in the heart of the Australian Outback. Determined to see this fabled “God Face” Socrates, Modo, and Octavia set sail for adventure. Modo encounters Aborigines, dirigibles, and the infamous Clockwork Guild during this trip, but it is in the face of his greatest fear that his will is truly tested – showing his disfigured face to the beautiful woman he has grown to love.
I love this series. Completely, fanatically. I love the characters and the ethos. I love how Slade has crafted this to mirror and mimic Classic Victorian Novels and yet written something original and new. Hunchback Assignments takes a page from all of the monster books (Frankenstein, The Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Phantom of the Opera) while The Dark Deeps is clearly an homage to Jules Verne. With Empire of Ruins Slade doffs his cap to the adventure novels of the period; to King Solomon’s Mines and She…. and yes, I realize Frankenstein is technically pre-Victorian but it’s close enough for government work. What Slade has done with this series is nothing short of spectacular and astounding, and I can’t wait to see how he astounds me with the fourth and final book in the series.
Mr. Slade, you have high expectations from this enthusiast for the next book. Don’t disappoint me.
5 out of 5 stars.
* Empire of Ruins releases September 13th, 2011.
– Follow the Reader –