Paperback: 290 pages
(Barry’s score 5 out of 5 stars)
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The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi (A Burton & Swinburne Adventure)
Burton & 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! The government, in search of answers, turns to the Afterlife, only to find that Abdu El Yezdi is now refusing to speak with the living. Enter the newly-knighted Sir Richard Francis Burton, fresh from his discovery of the source of the Nile. Appointed the king’s agent, he must trace the missing luminaries and solve the mystery of Abdu El Yezdi’s silence. But the Beast has been summoned. How can the famous explorer fulfill his mission when his friends and loved ones are being picked off, one by one, by what appears to be a supernatural entity-by, perhaps, Abdu El Yezdi himself?
While I was not happy with the US cover, I loved this book. I love a dark esoteric Victorian story (in this case sans Queen Victoria) and The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi delivered everything that I love in a steampunk novel. I suppose that it was when Burton was reading through Thomas Lake Harris’ book The Wisdom of Angels and commented on Harris’ belief that he had married an angel that I knew I was hooked. I immediately thought of Ida Craddock (Sexual Outlaw, Erotic Mystic: The Essential Ida Craddock) and her belief that she had married an angel named Soph. The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi is packed with figures from the 19th Century Occult community. So much so, that I thought the name Perdurabo was too obvious a clue.
Having said that, the name Abdu El Yezdi is from the poem The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi which is believed to have been written by Sir Richard Francis Burton. You don’t have to be a Sufi to understand the significance of that clue as the story plays out.
I really enjoyed the book which at times seemed to me to have a Dion Fortune vibe to it. The steampunk elements and the esoteric content were right up my alley. Hodder is an essential Author for your steampunk Home-library. I give The Secret of Abdu El Yezdi a solid 5 stars out of 5.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from PYR Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- New Music: Jesse Jagz & Kahli Abdu – Don’t Gimme Shit Ft. Poe (naijaeast.wordpress.com)