Published by Knopf March 26, 2012
“A tour de force of Dickensian
bravura and genre-bending splendor.
“Harkaway’s celebrated debut, The Gone-Away World, offered a gonzo take on postapocalyptic fiction, but it was really just a warm-up act—a prodigiously talented novelist stretching muscles that few other writers even possess…
“At the center of the tale is a mild-mannered clockmaker in contemporary London, Joe Spork, who is doing his best to live down the legacy of his crime-boss father. Then an elderly lady, who happens to be a superspy from decades past, deposits a curious artifact on Joe’s doorstop, and before you can say ‘doomsday machine,’ Joe’s friends are being murdered, he’s accused of terrorism, and he appears to be the only person with even an outside chance of saving humanity from a truly bizarre form of extinction: the doomsday machine, we learn gradually, was designed to bring world peace by forcing us to speak only the truth, but in the wrong hands, truth-telling can be the deadliest of weapons.
“Yes, there’s espionage here, along with fantasy and more than a little steampunk, but there’s also an overlay of gangster adventure, a couple of tender romance plots, and some fascinating reflections on fathers and sons and the tricky matter of forging a self in the shadow of the past. The latter is particularly interesting, as Harkaway is the son of John le Carré, and while he writes in an utterly different style and on a much grander scale than his father, the fact remains that—stripped of its mad monks and artificial bees and pre-Raphaelite craftsmen turned thugs—Harkaway’s novel is at its core a powerful meditation on the anxiety of influence, similar in that way to his father’s A Perfect Spy. But influences aside, this is a marvelous book, both sublimely intricate and compulsively readable.”
-Bill Ott, BOOKLIST, a starred review
great fun on every page.”
a featured and starred review
“A stuffed-to-the-rafters romp.”
-KIRKUS, a starred review
Lena Khidritskaya | 212-572-2103 | firstname.lastname@example.org