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Angelmaker

by Nick Harkaway

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,2827715,333 (3.89)107
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.
  1. 10
    Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (kitzyl)
    kitzyl: Commonalities include: nostalgia for the golden (criminal/stage magic) days gone by, details of an old and mysterious craft (horology/sleight of hand), flashbacks to character's childhood which explains their nowadays persona, mystery-thriller involving technological machines (truth-automata-bees/television).… (more)
  2. 11
    American Gods {original} by Neil Gaiman (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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» See also 107 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
This reminds me of Neal Stephenson in terms of style, but unfortunately, not in terms of story. The first two thirds were quite slow going and confusing, then the last third was quicker paced but didn’t seem any more reasonably plotted. ( )
  danielskatz | Jan 6, 2024 |
Loved this book. Funny and full of action. A great heroes journey. The best thing of all is I never knew where it was going next. ( )
  cdaley | Nov 2, 2023 |
Harkaway's second novel Angelmaker is a far better book than his first, despite showing a similar range of preoccupations. There are still martial arts training, a big showdown with a fearsome villain, strange conspiracies, and incomprehensible technology with basically metaphysical effects.

This story has for its hero Joshua Joseph Spork, a "clockworker" with a gangster heritage, and it concerns the immanentization of the eschaton by means of mechanical apiary. Although set in the early 21st century, the novel includes recollected episodes from throughout the 20th--largely thanks to a key alternate protagonist, superspy Edie Banister. The whole thing is told in a hectic Pynchonesque style that I greatly enjoyed.

A lot of the sensibility of this book has been taken up again in the later Jack Price novels by "Aidan Truhen," and while the tale of Crazy Joe Spork is sometimes as funny as Jack Price, it also includes a little more serious reflection and attempts to deal with "deep" concerns.
1 vote paradoxosalpha | Aug 22, 2023 |
2023 book #35. 2012. Joe, who rejected the ways of his gangster father, is just a London clockmaker and fixer of things. When he accidentally turns on a machine which could destroy the world, he finds he's the only one who can turn it off. But powerful forces are against him. ( )
  capewood | Jul 21, 2023 |
A very interesting modern steampunk with some great highs, but also some confusing lows. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Jan 30, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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)
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harkaway, Nickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Booher, JasonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Neill, GlennCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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
Dedication
For Clare, like everything else.
First words
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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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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