The Aylesford Skull (James P. Blaylock)


Until James P. Blaylock’s novel The Aylesford Skull, I hadn’t read any works that could really be classified as “steampunk.” I quite enjoyed it, especially coming off of a stint of hard research and writing. The novel is very suspenseful (not always a good thing in my book, but done in a manageable way here) and interesting, with sympathetic characters and an entertaining storyline.

The novel is one in Blaylock’s Langdon St. Ives series of mysteries, but that didn’t prevent me from understanding any of the story. It read very much like an updated version of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries; I say “updated” because I feel the literature of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s era could verge on dull at times (although the Holmes series never did for me) while Blaylock’s most certainly does not.

One final delight: the print itself is in an umber ink, which I quite enjoyed. It’s part of what sold me on the book in the first place, truth be told. I’m rather a sucker for creative uses of material print.

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