Monday, January 28, 2013

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

Review by Andrew Rumbles

World War II was ended and peace maintained by the use and possession of atomic warfare.  The weapon encapsulated such a threat that its existence meant peace.  But was it really the only ultimate weapon developed during the war?

Harkaway’s previous book, Gone Away World evoked an alien planet with a thrilling plot and many twists, Angelmaker is very much our world today, yet he makes sure we believe in the unbelievable.
The charming hero is clockmaker, Joe Spork, son of crook and villain, Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork  and grandson of traditional clockmaker Daniel.  But Daniel and Mathew are now dead and Joe’s life is a struggle.  His untrustworthy friend Billy has got him a repair commission that involves a clockwork book and his mother, Harriet is living as a nun in a convent. Shady characters arrive and enquire about the book and Joe’s suppressed underworld tendencies worry him enough that he starts making enquiries himself.  Then all hell breaks loose.

With a mixture of storylines from war time spies, to steampunk, clockwork, Asian villains and underworld London this book is all things to many people.

Harkaway introduces a multitude of very individual characters.  He sometimes over describes, but he certainly never fails to build plot and momentum.  The action turns Joe’s life upside down and may affect the future of the universe or at the very least the world.

I love fantastical writing and this is ultimately pretty damned good.

Publication Feb 2013 - Random House - $29.99

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