a wonderfully strange, rich piece of work — extremely entertaining and exciting
– William Gibson, NEW YORK TIMES
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.
Nick Harkaway is the author of the novels The Gone-Away World, Angelmaker, and Tigerman. He won the Oxfam Emerging Writer prize at the Hay Festival in 2012. His work has also been shortlisted for the LA Times Book Prize and the Clarke Award. He once shared his breakfast quite accidentally with a tiger, and enjoys cooking, skiing, and Italian red wine.