The Black Locomotive

Rian Hughes

05 August 2021
400 pages


'The equivalent of London’s brand-new Elizabeth line . . . vast, shiny and very, very deep' - The Times, ‘Best Summer Reads’

‘Utterly unique . . . A masterpiece’ - The Daily Mail

‘Stunning . . . Brilliantly original’ - The Guardian

London is built from concrete, steel and the creative urge.

Old technology gives way to the new. Progress is inevitable - but is it more fragile than its inhabitants realise?

A strange anomaly is uncovered in the new top-secret Crossrail extension being built under Buckingham Palace. It is an archeological puzzle, one that may transform our understanding of history - and the origins of London itself.

And if our modern world falls, we may have to turn to the technology of the past in order to save our future.

Hughes is an undeniably unique wordsmith . . . [The Black Locomotive] manages to communicate an excited and passionate vision while holding fast to a nostalgic affinity that warms the bones of any would-be industrial revolutionary.
What? A gigantic spaceship from prehistory discovered under London and the only way in is with a pre-war steam engine, hidden in secret government tunnels? The problem is knotty but the solution worthy of a Boy’s Own comic in this conceptually complex, graphically gorgeous, full-steam-ahead masterpiece.
Rian Hughes’s graphic-design extravaganza hits the rails screeching, wailing and showering sparks . . . Part a callback to science fiction’s New Wave, part architect’s coffee-table must-have, part ripping yarn.