MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Excerpt from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

by Natasha Pulley

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley X
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2015, 336 pages
    Jul 2015, 336 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Sharry Wright
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Thaniel had not met most of his neighbours, but he was inclined to believe him. As far as he understood, they were all clerks of some kind; like him, they were all members of the crowd of black coats and black hats that swamped London for half an hour every morning and evening. Without meaning to, he looked down at his own black shoes. They were elderly but well polished.

'Anything else?' he said.

'Christ, what'd he take that was so important?'


George hissed his breath out between his teeth. 'What do you care, then? It's late. Some of us want to get some sleep before the constable turfs us out at the crack of dawn.'

'Oh, don't whine. You come back forty seconds after he's gone. Mystery person breaks into my flat, does the washing up and takes nothing. I'd like to know why.'

'Sure it wasn't your mother?'


George sighed. 'Small brown boots. Foreign writing on the heel. Maybe a boy.'

'I want my four pence back.'

'Bugger off,' George yawned, and lay back down again. Thaniel went out on to the empty street with a half-formed hope of seeing a boy in brown boots somewhere up ahead. The ground shook as a late train passed underneath, sending up a cloud of steam through the grating in the pavement. Less quickly, he turned back inside. Taken twice in a row, the three flights of steps made his thighs ache.

Back in his room, he flicked open the door of the stove again. He sat down on the edge of the bed with his coat still on and held his hands toward the coals. A dark shape just beside him caught his eye. He stiffened because at first he thought it was a mouse, but it wasn't moving. It was a velvet box, tied with a white ribbon. He had never seen it before. He picked it up. It was heavy. On the ribbon was a circular label, etched with leaf patterns. In an angular, calligraphic hand it read: 'To Mr Steepleton'. He pulled off the ribbon and opened the box. The hinge was stiff but did not squeak. Inside was a pocket watch.

Slowly, he lifted it out. It was made of a rosy gold he hadn't seen before. The chain slithered gently after it, the links all smoothed flawless, without the slightest hairline space or ripple of solder to show where they had been joined. He wound it through his fingers until the clasp at the end tapped against his cufflink. The catch would not open when he pressed it. He held it to his ear, but the clockwork was silent and the spindle refused to wind. Somewhere in its workings, though, a few cogs must have been alive, because despite the dank cold, the case was warm.

'It's your birthday,' he said suddenly to the empty room, and sagged, feeling stupid. Annabel must have come. She knew his address from his letters and he had sent her a key for emergencies. He had always assumed, in the absence of money for the train fare, that her promises to come up to London were a sisterly nothing. George's mysterious boy was probably one of her sons. The calligraphy would have given her away sooner if he had been less tired and less distracted. Although it ought to have been the job of the butler, she had always written the place settings if the old duke was having a dinner party. He could remember doing arithmetic problems at their kitchen table when he was too small for his feet to reach the floor, while opposite him, her good pen hissed over the cards and their father made fishing flies in a vice.

He held the watch a moment longer before setting it on the wooden chair by the bed, the one that served as a table for collars and cufflinks. The gold caught the ember-light and shone the colour of a human voice.


The following day Thaniel could not stop thinking about what the proper name for a fear of big machinery was. He couldn't remember, but he had had it when he first came to London. It had been worst at railway crossings beside overground stations, where the steam engines would stop, fuming, ten feet away from people picking their way over the lines. The lake of tracks outside Victoria station was still not his favourite place. There had been dozens of tiny things like that, things that didn't matter until something went wrong, like getting lost, whereupon, catching at thoughts as they did, they made thinking much more difficult than it would have been anywhere else.

Excerpted from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. Copyright © 2015 by Natasha Pulley. Excerpted by permission of Bloomsbury USA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    by Ava Homa
    Ava Homa's debut novel begins with an epigraph by Sherko Bekas, a Kurdish poet, the last lines of ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.



Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.