Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Book of the Week - Nick Harkaway, Angelmaker

Now that June is upon us, my thoughts begin to turn to the summer reading list. Of course, there will be some literary fiction, but during the summer months I prefer to leaven the more serious stuff with a few books from other genres. Angelmaker is the second novel from Nick Harkaway, son of John Le Carre, but an emerging and interesting author in his own right. His first novel, The Gone-Away World, was well received and Angelmaker seems to have advanced his cause further. It was originally released back at the beginning of February and attracted some outstanding views. In fact, it has topped the CultureCritic Review Chart for at least a couple of months. It also seems to be the second book which I have recommended this year where one of the central characters is concerned with clockwork automatons.....synchronicity in action.

Harkaway writes novels which are a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, very inventive and enjoyable, although as with many books of this type there may be a few misses along with the large number of hits. The limited edition of The Gone-Away World has at least retained its value if not gained a little. There is not a limited edition of Angelmaker, but signed and dated first editions are still available at cover price from Goldsboro Books and represent a bit of a no-brainer in terms of a buy. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr Harkaway will do very well in the long term and these early novels may well represent a good investment.

 “All Joe Spork wants to do is live quietly. He repairs clockwork and lives above his shop in a wet, unknown bit of London. The bills don’t always get paid and he’s single and in his mid thirties and he has no prospects of improving his lot, but at least he’s not trying to compete with the reputation of Mathew “Tommy Gun” Spork, his infamous criminal dad. Edie Banister lives quietly and wishes she didn’t. She’s nearly ninety and remembers when she wasn’t. She used to be a spy, and now she’s… well… old. Worse yet, the things she fought to save don’t seem to exist anymore, and she’s beginning to wonder if they ever did. When Joe repairs one particularly unusual clockwork mechanism, his quiet life is blown apart. Suddenly he’s getting visits from sinister cultists and even more sinister lawyers. One of his friends is murdered and it looks as if he may be in the frame. Oh, and in case that wasn’t enough, he seems to have switched on a 1950s doomsday machine – or is it something even more alarming? Edie’s story and Joe’s have collided. From here on in, nothing will be the same – Joe’s world is now full of mad monks, psychopaths, villainous potentates, scientific geniuses, giant submarines, determined and extremely dangerous receptionists, and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe – and if Joe’s going to fix it or even survive, he must show that he can be everything Mathew was, and much, much more.”

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