"A head-spinning cliffhanger that reads a bit like Harry Potter for grownups. . . . It would be a shame if no movie were made from this glorious piece of kaleidoscope-fiction." The Wall Street Journal
“Brilliant, wholly original, and a major-league hoot.” —The Seattle Times
“Nick Harkaway has created a brand new genre: Existential pulp . . . Redolent of comic books and action serials, but there are also serious questions about the nature of existence and personhood being asked. . . . So over the top, it redefines where the top is.” —io9
“A big, gleefully absurd, huggable bear of a novel. . . . Harkaway’s prose is playful and beguiling, with a keen satiric edge.” —Slate
“A story of technology and morality. It’s a wonderfully strange, rich piece of work— extremely entertaining and exciting—and has a wonderfully comic aspect to it as well.” —William Gibson
“A magnificent, literary, post-pulp triumph. . . . Angelmaker is an entertaining tour-de-force that demands to be adored.” —The Independent (London)
“It’s hard to put a finger on exactly why Angelmaker is one of the year’s best books. Know this, though: it is.” —Tor.com
“Angelmaker strenuously avoids falling into any usual category of fiction. Part science fiction, part philosophical exploration, part steampunk fantasy and part lovingly realistic description of contemporary London, it pays tribute to Charles Dickens in its quirky names and frequent coincidences, and to pulp fiction in its semi-clad damsels and grisly scenes of torture. It is also mordantly funny.” —The Columbus Dispatch
“[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.” —The Millions
“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 falls into that last category.” —Wired.com
“An ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told. . . . A solid work of modern fantasy fiction.” —The Observer (London)
“Marvelously old-fashioned in the best sense of that word. It’s a sprawling, irreverent, blockbuster of a novel, an apocalyptic roller coaster of a book.”—Open Letters Monthly
“A genuine tale of fantastika. . . . And the truth of what we have done, and where we live now, shines through.” —Strange Horizons
“A riotous, wildly inventive mish-mash of genres and seemingly contradictory ideas [Angelmaker] manages the not inconsiderable trick of being both immensely entertaining and curiously heartfelt.” —The Sydney Morning Herald
“A joyful display of reckless, delightful invention, on a par with the rocket-powered novels of Neal Stephenson, if in rather more ironically diffident English form. Ideas come zinging in from all corners, and do so with linguistic verve and tremendous humour. . . . What a splendid ride.” —The Guardian (London)
“An intricate and brilliant piece of escapism. . . . 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.” —Daily Telegraph (London)
“[The Gone-Away World] was a work of such glorious, exhaustive excess a part of me wondered if Harkaway would actually write again. I am profoundly glad that he has: Angelmaker is every bit as entertaining and imaginative. . . . Effervescent and witty. . . . Harkaway manages the ideal blend of paying homage to a very British sense of decency and fair play, while at the same time idolising the rule-breakers.” — Stuart Kelly, Scotsman on Sunday
“Endlessly inventive. . . . An absurdist sendup of pulp story tropes and end-of-the-world scenarios.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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 of Dickensian bravura and genre-bending splendor. . . . This is a marvelous book, both sublimely intricate and compulsively readable.” —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)
In Harkaway’s endlessly inventive second novel (after The Gone-Away World), Londoner Joe Spork has turned his back on his late father’s mobster legacy and become instead a clock repairman. Asked by a friend to fix a complex old machine, Joe finds himself inexplicably pursued by shadowy government agents, a rogue sect of technophiliac monks, a suburban serial killer and an identity-shifting Asian drug lord called Opium Khan. As Joe races to discover the true purpose of the machine, he learns that the answer might lie with elderly Edie Banister, a superspy during WWII. Edie’s flashbacks to her war adventures are easily the most diverting aspect of this book, but in no way overshadow Joe’s frantic search to uncover the truth about the machine, a doomsday device that turns out to be linked to his family history. With the fate of the world in his hands, Joe realizes that the only way to save the planet might be for him to embrace his father’s gangster heritage. Perhaps 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. Although the narrative often threatens to go off the rails, Harkaway makes his novel great fun on every page. Agent: Patrick Walsh, Conville and Walsh Literary Agency, U.K. (Mar.)
Joe Spork’s father was the king of London’s criminal underworld. His grandfather was a genius with clockwork. In Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker (Knopf. ISBN 9780307595959. $26.95), a fantasy caper with a richly imagined alternate history, vividly crafted characters, and a genre-bending sensibility, Joe now runs a modest clockwork shop as he tries to make amends for his father’s sins. When he is asked to repair a particularly ornate and clever device, it turns out to be a doomsday machine that will draw Joe into the world of superspies, religious zealots, and vengeful despots.
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A bang comes at the door, and with it an offer that one shouldn't refuse but must. Thus begins Brit novelist Harkaway's (The Gone-Away World, 2008) latest stuffed-to-the-rafters romp through genres and eras. Harkaway is the son of spy-thriller master John le Carré, but he has none of his father's economy or world-weariness. Indeed, he takes a more-is-better approach: If one jape is good, 10 will kill; if one dramatic arc succeeds, let's have a few more. The tale opens up as a sort of hard-boiled fantasy: The unfortunately named Joe Spork, a clock repairer by day, finds himself drawn into a weird web involving his father, a gangster and half of British intelligence during World War II and the early years of the Cold War, all courtesy of a sort of doomsday machine that falls into his possession. The current inhabitants of Whitehall want it. So does a bad, bad Asian dictator. A band of steampunks called the Ruskinites—you've got to know a little something about Victorian aesthete John Ruskin for that joke to work—figure in the proceedings, as do assorted hunters and collectors. Joe has a few choices: He can hit the trail, he can turn tough-guy and fight back or he can sell out. Which choice he'll stick with is a matter on which Harkaway leaves us guessing, meanwhile 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. Harkaway is a touch undisciplined; his tale stands comparison to Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, but it's a lot looser, and sometimes there's too much of a good thing. But it's a funny surfeit, rich with good humor and neat twists—and you've got to love the self-doubting super-spy heroine, once a bit of a femme fatale, now a dotty oldster: "She has to admit privately that she may be mad…She has not lost her marbles or popped her garters, or any of the cosier sorts of madness she had observed in her contemporaries. She has, if anything, gone postal." A touch early in the season for a beach book, though just the kind of thing to laugh at away from polite society. Top-notch.