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From the acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World, blistering gangster noir meets howling absurdist comedy as the forces of good square off against the forces of evil, and only an unassuming clockwork repairman and an octogenarian former superspy can save the world from total destruction.
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 father’s old gun.
“Endlessly inventive. . . . Inspired by the New Wave science fiction of Michael Moorcock, the London crime novels of Jake Arnott, and the spy fiction of John le Carré (the author’s father), 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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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.” —Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus
“You are in for a treat, sort of like Dickens meets Mervyn Peake in a modern Mother London. The very best sort of odd.” —William Gibson, author of Zero History
“Nick Harkaway's novel is like a fractal: when examined at any scale, it reveals itself to be complex, fine-structured and ornately beautiful. And just like a fractal, all of this complexity and beauty derives from a powerful and elegant underlying idea.” —Charles Yu, author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
“This brilliant, boundless mad genius of a book runs on its own frenetic energy, and bursts with infinite wit, inventive ambition and damn fine storytelling. You finish reading it in gape-mouthed awe and breathless admiration, having experienced something very special indeed.” —Matt Haig, author of The Radleys
“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.” —Dexter Palmer, author of The Dream of Perpetual Motion
“Angelmaker is an intricate and brilliant piece of escapism, tipping its hat to the twisting plots of John Buchan and H Rider Haggard, the goggles-and-gauntlets Victoriana of the steampunk movement and the labyrinthine secret Londons of Peter Ackroyd and Iain Sinclair, while maintaining an originality, humour and verve all its author’s own. . . . Angelmaker must have been huge fun to write, and it is huge fun to read. . . . A fantasy espionage novel stuffed with energetic, elegant writing that bowls the reader along while reflecting profitably on the trends of the times. Gleefully nostalgic and firmly modern, hand-on-heart and tongue-in-cheek, this is as far as it could be from the wearied tropes that dominate so much of fantasy and SF. I can’t wait to see what Harkaway does next.” —Tim Martin, Daily Telegraph
“A big, gleefully absurd, huggable bear of a novel. . . . With Angelmaker, Harkaway argues that high stakes and humor are not mutually exclusive. Even though jokes are often employed to break the tension, there is much more to the comic than comic relief. Humor, used deftly, enriches prose, warms us to characters, and causes the tightest plot thread to loosen agreeably. 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.” —Glen Weldon, Slate
“Harkaway’s celebrated debut, The Gone-Away World . . . was really just a warm up act–a prodigiously talented novelist stretching muscles that few other writers even possess—for this tour de force Dickensian bravura and genre-bending splendor. . . . This is a marvelous book, both sublimely intricate and compulsively readable.” —Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)
“Harkaway keeps us guessing, traveling the edges between fantasy, sci-fi, the detective novel, pomo fiction and a good old-fashioned comedy of the sort that Jerome K. Jerome might have written had he had a ticking thingy instead of a boat as his prop. . . . His tale stands comparison to Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A lot of books are fun to read for the plot; a smaller percentage display this artful mastery of the language. And precious few manage to do both. Angelmaker, the second novel by British writer Nick Harkaway, falls into that last category. . . . This is not the sort of book I zip through, despite wanting to know what happens next. It’s the sort of book you want to let steep in your brain a bit before you take another taste.” —Jonathan Liu, Wired.com’s GeekDad blog
“A magnificent, literary, post-pulp triumph. . . . Angelmaker is an entertaining tour-de-force that demands to be adored.” —David Barnett, The Independent
“An ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told and utterly immune to précis. . . . A solid work of modern fantasy fiction.” —James Purdon, The Observer
“[Harkaway] manages to write surrealist adventure novels that feel both urgent and relevant. His novels are fun to read without seeming particularly frivolous, and beneath all the derring-do and shenanigans, there’s a low thrum of anxiety: everything and everyone you love could disappear at any moment. . . . Angelmaker is a truly impressive achievement.” —Emily St. John Mandel, The Millions
“Greetings to Joe Spork, the book world’s newest hero. He springs from the fertile, absurdist imagination of Harkaway in his follow-up to The Gone-Away World.” —Billy Heller, New York Post
“A long, wild journey through a London dream world. . . . With its bizarre scenarios and feverish wordiness, its huge cast of British eccentrics and the ark forces of paranoia and totalitarianism lurking everywhere, this novel recalls the works of Martin Amis and Will Self. Immense fun and quite exciting.” —Jim Coan, Library Journal
“It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why Angelmaker is one of the year’s best books. Know this, though: it is.” —Niall Alexander, Tor.com
“Brilliant, wholly original, and a major-league hoot.” —Adam Woog, The Seattle Times
“Dashing through the propulsive, hundred-page climax of this gloriously uninhibited romp of a novel, it dawned on me that I had just read the best episode of The Avengers never filmed. . . . Harkaway has managed to recapture the lighthearted brio of an earlier age of precision entertainment, when the world was deemed to be perpetually teetering on the brink of Armageddon but always capable of being snatched back to safety with a quip, a wink, a judo chop, and the lurid highlights reflecting off Mrs. Peel’s leather catsuit.” —Paul Di Filippo, Barnes and Noble Review
“[Angelmaker] leaves you feeling as though Harkaway’s penchant for genre mashups has resulted in something really new. Call it existential pulp, a genre in which everything is redolent of comic books and action serials, but there are also serious questions about the nature of existence and personhood being asked. . . . Everything is larger than life and so colorful it almost blows out your retina, and it’s all tinged with nostalgia for World War II and for the glory days of London gangsters. It’s a love letter to pulp novels and pulp adventures. . . . So over the top, it redefines where the top is.” —Charlie Jane Anders, io9
“A genuine tale of fantastika. . . . And the truth of what we have done, and where we live now, shines through." —John Clute, Strange Horizons
“Joe Spork’s rise to gangsterdom will make you want to don your trenchcoat, set your fedora at a cocky angle, and go fight some baddies. . . . [An] endlessly clever (but never smug) frolic through the almost-end of the world.” —Rebecca Joines Shinsky, The Book Lady’s Blog
“Angelmaker adopts genre elements without ever feeling like a genre book, and it leads me to believe that Harkaway is well on his way to a narrative grace close to China Miéville’s.” —Edward Champion, Reluctant Habits