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The Mechanical
     

The Mechanical

5.0 2
by Ian Tregillis
 

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My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a slave.

But I shall be free.

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, the new novel from Ian Tregillis confirms his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.

PRAISE FOR IAN TREGILLIS"

A major new

Overview

My name is Jax.

That is the name granted to me by my human masters.

I am a slave.

But I shall be free.

Set in a world that might have been, of mechanical men and alchemical dreams, the new novel from Ian Tregillis confirms his place as one of the most original new voices in speculative fiction.

PRAISE FOR IAN TREGILLIS"

A major new talent." George R.R. Martin"

Tremendous." Cory Doctorow"

Addictively brilliant." io9"

Exciting and intense." Publishers Weekly"

Eloquent and utterly compelling." Kirkus

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/26/2015
Tregillis (Something More Than Night) launches a series with this superb alternate history filled with clockwork men and ethical questions on the nature of free will. The Calvinist Dutch empire, with the help of the mechanical soldiers (“Clakkers”) that are imbued with intelligence and enslaved through magic, has been dominant since defeating the French in the 17th century. Two centuries later, their only opponents are small French and Papal outposts in the New World. Against this background, French spymaster Berenice Charlotte de Mornay-Périgord, Vicomtesse de Laval, attempts to manage her secret agents abroad. One of those agents is Father Luuk Visser, a Catholic priest undercover as a pastor in the Hague, who knows he’s soon going to be exposed. He uses one of the Clakkers, Jax, to smuggle an item across the Atlantic. As Berenice, Luuk, and Jax go on their separate journeys (only briefly intersecting), they uncover multiple dastardly plots, learn terrifying secrets, and have to cope with knowing that all three of them have destroyed innocent lives. Tregillis’s complex setting is elegantly delivered, and the rich characters and gripping story really make this tale soar. Agent: Kay McCauley, Pimlico Agency. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"There are a number of marvelous action scenes, hallucinogenic in their over-the-top big-screen violence, but the real attraction here is Tregilli's narrative ruthlessness, which manifest as willingness to take his character to the brink of hell...and then, rather than yank them back at the last second, push them in."—SciFi Magazine on The Mechanical "

A major talent."—George R.R. Martin on Bitter Seeds"

Superb alternate history filled with clockwork men and ethical questions on the nature of free will. ... Tregillis's complex setting is elegantly delivered, and the rich characters and gripping story really make this tale soar."—Publishers Weekly on The Mechanical "

The first thing readers will say after finishing this splendid book is: 'Wow.' The second thing will probably be: 'When can I read the next one?'"—Booklist on The Mechanical "

Tregillis presents a fascinating look at the nature of free will and the existence of the soul, wrapped up in an absolutely thrilling adventure story. Jax is an amazing, sympathetic character, and the world of the clockmakers and their slaves is so absorbing that readers will be dying for the next entry in this new series."—Library Journal on The Mechanical "

Thrilling philosophical clock punk."—B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog on The Mechanical "

His characters are as convincing as ever, the plotting is beautifully articulated, the tone relentlessly grim and sometimes horrifying. And while the action rarely flags, Tregillis manages to pack in a good deal of philosophical probing...readers with an interest in dark, intelligent fantasy-will find much to admire here."—Kirkus on The Mechanical"

In the tradition of Isaac Asimov, Tregillis's latest novel combines classic robotics with historical fiction to riveting ends. Tregillis brings an intriguing touch to his narrative, as parts of actual Dutch history, such as colonization, the founding of New Amsterdam and reliance on slavery, are reflected in the fictionalized country's conquering of the rest of the world. Further, the story manages to posit broad questions, such as how one defines humanity and free will, without coming across as sanctimonious or treacly. It's also just plain exciting, with intense fight scenes and exhilarating narrow escapes. Readers will no doubt be rooting for the "rogue" robots."—RT Book Reviews on The Mechanical"

...By the end of the novel, the physical and emotional transformations they have endured promise an even more exciting sequel. This tightly wound plot yields timely conversations regarding consciousness and technology as various forms of human and machine merge."—The Washington Post on The Mechanical"

While merely the warm-up for what promises to be a uniquely compelling series, The Mechanical is as intricate and exquisite as the clockwork wonders it brings to life."—NPR Books on The Mechanical

Library Journal
03/01/2015
How might the world have been different if Dutch alchemists had discovered the secret to creating mechanical servants bound to do the bidding of humanity? Berenice is a French spy who believes she can overthrow the Dutch if she can find and control a rogue Clakker. But the mechanical man won't give up his newly won freedom easily in this fascinating alt-history. (LJ 12/14)
School Library Journal
01/01/2016
In this alternate history set in the early 20th century, the Dutch have created Clakkers, mechanical servants and warriors who take care of all the tasks humans are unwilling to do. When the mechanical Jax loses the gear that compels him to follow orders, he is eager to protect his newfound free will. However, there are a range of opinions about the legality and ethics surrounding these creatures, who are essentially slaves to the human race. Philosophical thinkers will appreciate the questions about humanity. What gives someone or something a soul? How is a machine different from a human or a clock? Fans of action will not be disappointed when Clakkers and humans with different views come to blows. There is also enough spying, devious motivation, and treachery to please those who enjoy political intrigue. Teens will identify with the struggle of the Clakkers, who have their free will seized by their owners, particularly with Jax, who is a very sympathetic character. With complex concepts and challenging vocabulary, this is a selection to give teens who have graduated from young adult steampunk titles like Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan (S. & S., 2009) and Philip Reeve's "Hungry City Chronicles" (HarperCollins). VERDICT With no shortage of philosophy, action, and political intrigue, this title will appeal to fans of speculative fiction looking to start a new series.—Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
2015-03-04
First of a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the splendid Something More Than Night (2013, etc.). Two hundred and fifty years ago, the Dutch created a mechanical army of "Clakkers"—thinking clockwork beings powered and enslaved by alchemical magic—and now rule the world. Only the French government in exile still resists, from their fortress at Marseilles-in-the-West (Montreal). The powerful Schoonraad family is about to relocate to New Amsterdam (New York) and send their servitor Clakker, Jax, to Pastor Luuk Visser to collect a letter of introduction. Visser, however, secretly a Papist and a French spy whose network has been broken, expects to be arrested momentarily. He gives Jax an antique telescope with instructions to deliver it to an address in New Amsterdam. But during the voyage, the telescope breaks, a peculiar glass bead falls out—and Jax discovers he is no longer a slave. To the north, meanwhile, Vicomtesse Bernice de Laval, the French Talleyrand (spy chief), suspects that one of the king's closest advisers is a traitor. While secretly studying a captured battle Clakker, which the terms of the current uneasy cease-fire specifically prohibit, the thing gets away, killing her husband and slaughtering dozens. The traitor escapes. Exiled, Bernice makes her way to New Amsterdam, where eventually she will collide with Jax—with profound consequences for both the French and the Dutch. Perhaps holding back for later entries, Tregillis gives few details of the Clakkers' construction or operation, and the story is curiously slow to get going. But his characters are as convincing as ever, the plotting is beautifully articulated, the tone relentlessly grim and sometimes horrifying. And while the action rarely flags, Tregillis manages to pack in a good deal of philosophical probing. Not quite yet peak Tregillis, but his fans—and other readers with an interest in dark, intelligent fantasy—will find much to admire here.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316248006
Publisher:
Orbit
Publication date:
03/10/2015
Series:
Alchemy Wars Series , #1
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
191,575
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Ian Tregillis is the son of a bearded mountebank and a discredited tarot card reader. He was born and raised in Minnesota, where his parents had landed after fleeing the wrath of a Flemish prince. (The full story, he's told, involves a Dutch tramp steamer and a stolen horse.) Nowadays he lives in New Mexico, where he consorts with writers, scientists and other unsavoury types.

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The Mechanical 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JLBlessing More than 1 year ago
Definitely a good start to a great series. The characters are each unique to one another, yet they all tie in to one another. The plot is great, definitely entertaining! If you are a fan of Sci-Fi, steam punk, or even medieval type stories then I recommend this series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago