Joe Spork spends his days fixing antique clocks. The son of infamous London criminal Mathew "Tommy Gun" Spork, he has turned his back on his family's mobster history and aims to live a quiet life. That orderly existence is suddenly upended when Joe activates a particularly unusual clockwork mechanism. His client, Edie Banister, is more than the kindly old lady she appears to be - she's a retired international secret agent. And the device? It's a 1950s doomsday machine. Having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the British government and a diabolical South Asian dictator who is also Edie's old arch-nemesis.
On the upside, Joe's got a girl: a bold receptionist named Polly whose smarts, savvy and sex appeal may be just what he needs. With Joe's once-quiet world suddenly overrun by mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realizes that the only way to survive is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she abandoned years ago and pick up his fathers old gun...
The basic theme of Angelmaker is familiar enough: a threat to the world must be nullified by an unlikely hero. In Nick Harkaway's hands, however, this simple storyline becomes something entirely unique and unexpected, defying easy classification. It's equal parts science fiction, gangster novel, absurdist comedy, spy story and government conspiracy novel, forming one zany, convoluted, literary three-ring circus where anything can happen. It's the kind of thing you'd expect to get if you dropped Doug Adams's perpetually bewildered Arthur Dent in the middle of a James Bond intrigue: utter mayhem. (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
A big, gleefully absurd, huggable bear of a novel. . . . A pleasantly roomy book, a grand old manor house of a novel that sprawls and stretches. . . . In passage after passage, Angelmaker opens up, making room for the reader, until we aren’t merely empathizing with Joe Spork’s plight but feeling it keenly.
Harkaway repeats the sometimes funny sf-tinged thrillerish tone of his well-received debut, The Gone-Away World.
Starred Review. Endlessly inventive... the novel ends up being its own absurdist sendup of pulp story tropes and end-of-the-world scenarios. ...Harkaway makes his novel great fun on every page.
Starred Review. A touch early in the season for a beach book, though just the kind of thing to laugh at away from polite society. Top-notch.
The Observer (UK)
An ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told and utterly immune to précis. . . . A solid work of modern fantasy fiction.
The Independent (UK)
A magnificent, literary, post-pulp triumph. . . . Angelmaker is an entertaining tour-de-force that demands to be adored.
The Guardian (UK)
Angelmaker is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in ages...A joyful display of reckless, delightful invention...Once it gets going, it’s brilliantly entertaining, and the last hundred pages are pure, unhinged delight. What a splendid ride.
Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus
A puzzle box of a novel as fascinating as the clockwork bees it contains, filled with intrigue, espionage and creative use of trains. As if that were not enough to win my literary affection, Harkaway went and gave me a raging crush on a fictional lawyer.
William Gibson, author of Zero History
You are in for a treat, sort of like Dickens meets Mervyn Peake in a modern Mother London. The very best sort of odd.
Dexter Palmer, author of The Dream of Perpetual Motion
A joyously sprawling, elaborately plotted, endlessly entertaining novel filled with adventure, comedy, espionage, and romance, Angelmaker also deals with intriguing questions of free will and the nature of truth without stopping to take a breath. As if the book is made of clockwork, the pages turn themselves.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Deborah N. Layers and layers "Angelmaker" is, as protagonist Joshua Joseph Spork scoffs, an exaggeratedly corny name for a doomsday machine powered by clockwork bees. But as we discover, everything about this story has a double meaning at least, and no one--not even... Read More
At the heart of Angelmaker is an immensely intricate clockwork device. When we hear the word "clockwork" we generally think of old-fashioned non-digital timepieces. The term, however, refers to any mechanical device that uses a combination of springs and gears to function. In addition to wind-up watches and clocks, wind-up toys, old phonographs and traditional music boxes are all types of clockwork.
All clockwork mechanisms require some kind of power source, typically a weight or coiled spring. This stored energy is then translated into movement through one or more interlocking gear wheels; the release of energy is controlled using a device known in clocks and watches as an escapement, which is in turn connected to a regulating element such as a pendulum, spring or balance wheel.
Set in Pratchett's wonderfully crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, Going Postal hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade.
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A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...