The Hunchback Assignments

Arthur Slade
Target Age

If you could change your appearance, who would you be? Modo is so ugly no one could love him, yet he has the ability to shapeshift - change his shape and looks - for a few hours at least. After years of education and training, he was set adrift, alone in Victorian London, England by his benefactor, Mr. Socrates, and now has to fend for himself.

Weird things are happening, and children are disappearing. The nefarious Clockwork Guild is at work in London. A seemingly innocent assignment leads Modo on a quest for the truth to discover who’s behind the mystery and what they’re up to. Along the way he faces all sorts of danger including fire, explosions, and the unknown perils of the sewers!

Arthur Slade does a superb job of writing in the Steampunk* style. One thing that detracts from this tale is the extremes of character. Modo is horrifically ugly but absolutely brilliant and has a heart of gold. Arthur Slade is a compelling writer and could have created the same connections between reader and story without such absolute and unrealistic characterization.


*Steampunk is a genre which incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror, and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or Wild West era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.