This is an exciting, sprightly-paced addition to the ‘Horatio Lyle’ series. Set in Victorian London, it features the genius ‘scientist with a vague concept of the legal system’, a moral man of reason, finding himself lined up with an enigmatic, mystical group called the Tseiqin against very evil men in high places, who seek to destroy them with the Doomsday weapon/machine.
Lyle’s sidekicks are feisty children and a dozy bloodhound; his enemies are fully paid up members of the Bond villain club; and his methods entail rather a lot of explosives! Previous adventures and derring-do are alluded to frequently in the present World Book Day title for 2009.
The descriptive detail is imaginative and impressive and the characterization and dialogue highly humorous. The science can be a bit bewildering but the overall message of decency and fairness towards others, whoever they are, is unequivocal.