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Angelmaker

by Nick Harkaway

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,0676213,122 (3.91)88
Avoiding the lifestyle of his late gangster father by working as a clock repairman, Joe Spork fixes an unusual device that turns out to be a former secret agent's doomsday machine and incurs the wrath of the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator.
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» See also 88 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
This is well written, with a good structure and alternating points of view that keep the reader interested until the last page. However, this novel is too far in the genre fiction territory for me; it reads like a spy thriller combined with a Guy Ritchie movie and clockwork. ( )
  LubicaP | Mar 21, 2020 |
It's not a great story, and the second half isn't as good as the first, but this was highly entertaining on audio. ( )
  tombrown | Feb 21, 2020 |
I can't speak highly enough about this book. I bought a copy for my dad before I even finished reading it.

The characters were fascinating, the villain was breath-takingly evil, and the plot was razor sharp. Even the philosophical underpinnings of the story were thought-provoking and a completely new spin on that age-old cliche--"The End of the World." Because even nuclear war wouldn't really finish off humankind, right? Well, Nick Harkaway thought of an even worse way, and in his story it makes sense that his dooomsday device really would be THE END for us all.

But what I might have loved most of all was the LANGUAGE. Harkaway's words alternate between passages of warm, buttery smoothness to breathless, heart-pumping exuberance. Maybe even for the language alone, I think this may be my new favorite book.

Five stars aren't really enough. Until I come down off of this "book high," in my mind Angelmaker gets six.

( )
  cjorthmann | Sep 9, 2019 |
Took about 200 pages to warm up but once it picked up steam, it flew. Chunkier than I had anticipated, but satisfyingly bonkers with great steampunk, London Underworld, gangster fraternity lunacy. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Oh so funny, thought provoking. The characters, if a little too perfect, are so lovable that you slow your reading down not wanting it to end ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
But the dead hand of patrimony is about to tap Joe on the shoulder. A commission to repair a rare automaton turns sour when he inadvertently activates a postwar superweapon, throwing him into the path of a 50-year struggle between an ageing female super-spy, an order of craftsman warrior-monks who follow the dictates of John Ruskin and a psychopathic South Asian princeling chasing an army of robot bees. And Harkaway is off, on 500 pages of chases, subterfuges and double-crosses that sometimes resemble Count of Monte Cristo-era Dumas seen through the prism of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. New twists and turns are produced with showmanlike relish: Submarines! Armoured steam trains! Faceless clockwork soldiers! Death-defying escapes from underground laboratories! There’s a girl to get as well, of course — one with a murky past to confront. Will Joe be able to grapple with his father’s legacy and save the world? Wild conceits aside, Harkaway’s story is a joyously old-fashioned one at heart. Of course he will.
added by kitzyl | editThe Telegraph, Tim Martin (Mar 6, 2012)
 
Nick Harkaway is a hyphen-novelist. A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral novelist, if you like; or – more precisely in the case of this second book – a fantasy-gangster-espionage-romance novelist. The Gone-Away World, Harkaway's well-received debut, was a slightly overfilled post-apocalyptic pick-and-mix of genres. Just as blithe in its disregard of verisimilitude and generic constraint, Angelmaker flits between old-fashioned villains in London's East End and covert action in 1940s south Asia, arranging its whistlestop plot around the modern-day discovery of a weapon of mass destruction in the unlikely form of a skepful of clockwork bees. It's an ambitious, crowded, restless caper, cleverly told and utterly immune to precis.
added by kitzyl | editThe Guardian, James Purdon (Feb 12, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
The gangster is the man of the city, with the city's language and knowledge, with its queer and dishonest skills and its terrible daring, carrying his life in his hands like a placard, like a club.
--Robert Warshow
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For Clare, like everything else.
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At seven fifteen a.m., his bedroom slightly colder than the vacuum of space, Joshua Joseph Spork wears a longish leather coat and a pair of his father's golfing socks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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