From the acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World - an adventure story, a war story, and a love story, all wound into one brilliant narrative that runs like clockwork.
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature. Joe Spork, son of the infamous criminal Mathew 'Tommy Gun' Spork just wants a quiet life, repairing clockwork in a wet, unknown bit of London.
Edie Banister, former superspy, lives quietly and wishes she didn't.
She's nearly ninety and the things she fought to save don't seem to exist anymore.
She's beginning to wonder if they ever did. When Joe is asked to fix one particularly unusual device, his life is suddenly upended.
The client? Unknown. The device? A 1950s doomsday machine. Having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator, Edie's old arch-nemesis.
Joe's once-quiet world is now populated with mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe.
The only way he can survive, is to muster the courage to fight, help Edie complete a mission she gave up years ago, and pick up his father's old gun...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 592 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 03/01/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099538097
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by devenish
A good,if convoluted story concerning an alternative world which is being drawn into destruction by a mad genius. Opposed to him are a couple of diverse characters,one Joe Spork is the mild son of a gangster. The other is a eighty odd year old ex-superspy. Most of the book follows the various characters in the hunt and ultimate control of a 'Doomsday' machine.All this is well and good,and indeed makes for an excellent read until a rushed and dare I say a contrived ending. With a better ending I would certainly have given this a 5 star rating instead of the four it actually gets here.
Review by AHS-Wolfy
Joshua Joseph Spork, Joe to his friends, is a clockmaker and repairer of automata and is happy to keep a low profile. When your notorious gangster father was known by the nickname of <i>Tommy Gun</i> then being out of the limelight is something he's more than happy to be. Unfortunately for Joe, this state of affairs isn't going to last. It starts with a favour for a friend. Billy Friend wants Joe to take a look at an item for one of his clients. It's a book that is more than a book as it also has machine parts which the client wants cleaned up, repaired and made ready for use. Nobody but Billy should know that he's come in contact with it but some strange people have appeared at Joe's shop asking questions about and trying to acquire the object in question. Firstly there was the strange pair of Mr. Titwhistle and Mr. Cummerbund purporting to represent the Loganfield Museum of Mechanical History and this pair of oddball characters was quickly followed by a strangely dressed man who refers to himself as a Ruskinite. Joe advises them all that he is not in possession of the item they seek and then goes to try and find out more about it and his mysterious visitors. Joe's life is about to be turned upside down and inside out.The second part of the story revolves around Edie Banister. A former superspy now nearing ninety whose story is told in flashback. She's probably the most sprightly octogenarian that I've ever encountered in any media. From her recruitment and training into the service and her long-running encounters with a diabolical South Asian dictator who goes by the name of Shem Shem Tsien who wants to look God in the eye and poke it with a finger. He's commissioned a doomsday device in best James Bond supervillain style and it's up to Edie to see he doesn't get to switch it on. When Joe and Edie's worlds collide it could be the end of everything.Oh what a fun romp this is! A multi-genre mash-up that works brilliantly. Mixing in the aforementioned Bond with a touch of Allan Quatermain adding more than a dash of the British gangster flick and throwing in some steampunk elements and philosophical musings for good measure. Excellent characters that inhabit a beautifully written world. Dialogue that is imbued with a dark humour and a plot that brings all the strings together and ties them up in an end-of-the-world scenario that will have you furiously turning the pages.
Review by SChant
A reviewer on the Strange Horizons website has said that this book "has a puppyish quality and it is infectiously appealing .......... bounds enthusiastically along ", and I have to agree. It's entertaining, funny, and somewhat lacking in control - everything goes into it! I enjoyed it but it could have done with being much shorter and a bit more coherent.