Book Review – The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock (2013)

The Aylesford Skull
by James P. Blaylock
Release Date: January 15, 2013
Publisher: Titan Books

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Move over Sherlock Holmes…you’ve got some competition. Professor Langdon St. Ives is going to give you a run for your money. After a short hiatus, author James P. Blaylock brings back the hero of the Royal Society that has infatuated fans for decades. With THE AYLESFORD SKULL, the original father of steampunk gives us an exciting and fast-paced novel that will leave you breathless.

If you are not familiar with THE AYLESFORD SKULL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Titan Books:

It is the summer of 1883 and Professor Langdon St. Ives, brilliant but eccentric 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 into the night, St. Ives and his factotum Hasbro race into London in pursuit…

I have never read a Blaylock novel until this one, and I am very impressed. The author is very talented, in both writing and world-building, which results in a great read. I will be looking for the rest of the Langdon St. Ives stories soon.

The story of THE AYLESFORD SKULL is well crafted and contains several subplots that will engage the reader along with the primary storyline. The characters are likable (except for the villain, of course) and very believable; I am especially impressed with how well Blaylock is able to capture the ‘feel‘ of the age through his characterization. This is a facet that many author’s try, but only a few succeed.

I also enjoy the way Blaylock writes; he is very thorough in describing the scene, but he does not go the way of Tolkien and describe every blade of grass. This trait allows for deep immersion into the story, and thus presents a more enjoyable reading experience.

Fans of turn-of-the-century science-fiction/fantasy will enjoy THE AYLESFORD SKULL, which is why I highly recommend it. It is a gripping story that will keep you enthralled until the end…and then leave you begging for more. This book is available now, so give it a look soon.


One thought on “Book Review – The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock (2013)

  1. Brilliant review, Rick. I picekd up a copy at Clockwork Alchemy and can’t wait to dig into it. But I HAVE to wait until I get a few other titles cleared off the pile first. Arg.

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