The Black Locomotive

Rian Hughes

04 August 2022
416 pages


‘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 realize?

A strange anomaly is uncovered in the new top-secret Crossrail extension being built under Buckingham Palace. It is an archaeological 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.
A brilliantly original novel of literary SF from the acclaimed author of XX, The Black Locomotive weaves steam trains, the history and architecture of London, and a mysterious alien artefact below the city into a work of stunning inventiveness and originality.
What’s to be said about a book that blends boys’ own adventures with semiotics, complex sci-fi with steam engines, conspiracy theory with discourses on urban planning? Only that something so cleverly conceptual, ridiculously romantic and utterly unique must be the new Rian Hughes.