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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha…

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

by Natasha Pulley

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6143415,860 (3.66)1 / 67
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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I'm not sure what I expected of this book but it was quite different. A cunningly disguised love story with a conspiratorial, steam punk-ish seeing. A bit weird, but interesting. ( )
  Laurochka | Aug 18, 2017 |
Thaniel Steepleton is a low-level telegraphist with the British Home Office. One morning, after a long night shift, he finds a mysterious package sitting on his bed. Inside is a watch he is unable to open, though he can hear the clockwork moving inside. Forgetting about the mysterious watch as the months go by, Thaniel is drawn with the rest of the government into investigating bomb threats being made by Irish Nationalists. When the watch saves him from such a blast, Thaniel is determined to get to the bottom of the timepiece’s mystery. Seeking out the maker of the piece, a Japanese Baron turned watchmaker, Thaniel finds a quiet, unassuming man. As events continue, it appears more and more that Keita Mori is hiding something. Thaniel must weigh his growing regard for the kindly Mori with his increasing suspicion that he may be at the center of the bombings in London.

This is a neat little book, and took me down unexpected paths. In the interests of keeping my reviews spoiler free, I won’t elaborate any more on the plot here, but suffice to say that having started the book, I could not have predicted where it would wind up. There are elements of fantasy and steampunk in this story, but these aspects don’t seem intrusive, which is a fairly easy trap to fall into in this genre. Rather, the book felt like a historical mystery, with the more fantastical elements providing a gilding along the edges.

The characters of Thaniel Steepleton and Keita Mori are richly drawn. Mori, especially, is well done. As the plot weaves on, we come to regard both he and Thaniel as sympathetic characters, yet we are left guessing until the very end of the book whether or not Mori is a villain.

Fans of historical mystery, steampunk, or historical fantasy will find a great deal to like in this book. The book lies somewhere between the historical-with-a-bit-of-supernatural Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn, and the vividly steampunk Magnificent Devices series by Shelly Adina. ( )
  irregularreader | Jun 23, 2017 |
If I could give a rating exclusively based on atmosphere, this novel would rate a five. However, having to take into account character development, plot, and writing style, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street slumps to a mere 2.5. Something of a novel of eloquent 19th century steampunk, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was a laborious read in which I strained to feel any emotion towards the characters. The best character by far is Katsu, who also happens to be a small mechanical octopus and not really much of a character at all.

Thaniel, a telegraphist leading a quiet and isolated life, tumbles down a bit of a rabbit hole when he receives a mysterious gift and a bomb threat comes through his office. From there his existence becomes infinitely more complex as he makes the acquaintance of a Japanese watchmaker, a female physicist, and a slew of detectives seeking his assistance in hunting a bomb maker.

The storyline drags yet, miraculously and abruptly, picks up in the final fifty pages but it's really not enough to make this novel seem worth investing in. Complete with clairvoyants, snapshots of 19th century Japan, and an impossible romance, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is brimming with potential, but lacks a compelling reason to read it in its entirety. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Thaniel, a telegraphy clerk in the Home Office is saved from a bomb explosion by a siren from a watch which appeared in his lodgings six months previously. He goes to see the watchmaker, Mori, to try to determine if Mori was involved in the creation of the bomb, planted by Irish nationalists. He is drawn to Mori, but at the same time is promoted to the Japanese branch of the Foreign Office (and miraculously develops far greater social confidence overnight) and is asked by Scotland Yard to spy on Mori for them. In a second strand, Grace, in the fourth year at LMH is trying to prove a scientific hypothesis and meets Thaniel at a FO ball. Thaniel offers to marry Grace so he can thereby inherit her aunt's house and she can use it as a laboratory. Thaniel introduces Grace to Mori and they dislike each other.

I found the start of this novel slow, but enjoyable. All the chapters with Mori and his clockwork octopus in were interesting and I liked the way Thaniel's loyalties twisted. SPOILERS The part where Grace proved that Mori could indeed see the future went completely over my head. I didn't understand any of the last 20% really. Why did Grace suddenly decide Thaniel would have to choose between her and Mori? I thought she just wanted a laboratory? Why such desperate measures? Why did Mori "collapse" into a chair at the very end? ( )
  pgchuis | Jan 26, 2017 |
A rambling, and at times difficult to follow tale of a watchmaker and his infatuated companion. Poorly paced with long periods of low velocity plot drive, this was a labour (& not of love). Characterisations here were I felt, unsympathetic, and I found them difficult to follow, like or get involved with. Poor. Avoid. ( )
  aadyer | Nov 30, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Natasha Pulleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mann, DavidCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Home Office telegraphy department always smelled of tea.
He liked the noise that a newspaper made when you folded it. It was the only thing he liked about newspapers; he had to read them through spectacles, and spelling mistakes annoyed him because as a clerk he felt that bad spelling was one step away from bad speech, which was within hopping distance of being Welsh.
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In 1884, Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his London apartment to find a new watch on his pillow. But he has bigger things to worry about than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, where he has just received a bomb threat. Six months later, the watch saves his life, warning him of a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker. Keita Mori, the artisan behind the mysterious watch, is a Japanese immigrant who remembers the future. Mori and Thaniel bond quickly, and as their friendship deepens, Mori uses his gift to tweak Thaniel's daily life in his favor. But then Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist attracted to the telegraphist's refreshingly direct nature, unwittingly interferes. Soon, events spiral beyond Thaniel's control, and nothing is certain-not the present, and definitely not the future."The Watchmaker of Filigree Street "is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the reader on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles long-standing traditions, and beyond. It breathes a new authenticity into the era of Sherlock Holmes, exploring historical moments in a new light-as well as the prevailing social and scientific views of the age-and plays speculatively with time and destiny, ushering in a new kind of magic.
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