All Joe Spork wants is a quiet life. He repairs clockwork and lives above his shop in a wet, unknown bit of London. The bills don't always get paid and he's single and has no prospects of improving his lot, but at least he's not trying to compete with the reputation of Mathew "Tommy Gun" Spork, his infamous criminal dad.
Edie Banister lives quietly and wishes she didn't. She's nearly ninety and remembers when she wasn't. She's a former superspy and now she's... well... old. Worse yet, the things she fought to save don't seem to exist anymore, and she's beginning to wonder if they ever did.
When Joe fixes one particularly unusual device, his life is suddenly upended.
The client is one Edie Banister. And the device? It's a 1950s doomsday machine. And having triggered it, Joe now faces the wrath of both the government and a diabolical South Asian dictator, Edie's old arch-nemesis. With Joe's once-quiet world now populated with mad monks, psychopathic serial killers, scientific geniuses and threats to the future of conscious life in the universe, he realises that the only way to 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....
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Gavingks on 29-03-13
Now that is a great book. just so clever. you will
want more. This is what I hoped Rivers of London would have been like. It is a world war drama mixed with fantasy and mad ideas. a perfect mix and great characters. Witty, nasty and all round good. It is a book I will listen to again. Thank you for this one. well written very well read
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Andrew on 07-04-13
An excellent story very well read
This is a hugely imaginative story populated by unusual and eccentric characters and conferred around a doomesday machine powered by bees and clockwork. The story takes the hero on a journey of self discovery during which he suffers many trials and uncovers many old family secrets finally realising that there comes a time to turn nasty to win through.
The narrator is superb giving each character their own distinct personality, even the semi-blind one toothed pug
Overall an excellent listen masse all the more enjoyable by the skill of the narrator.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Maxime on 25-05-18
Great book and brilliant performance by the reader.
One of the greatest joys in life is discovering an author that paints masterpieces in your mind.
Not believable in the slightest, but that’s the point. A fun and adventurous story with the most delightful characters.
5 stars all around
By Anonymous User on 20-07-13
Just a bit too silly.
This is the first book I've listened to by Nick Harkaway and I didn't really know what to expect. The story is so ridiculous that I'm having trouble para-phrasing it. It's the story of a watch/clockwork maker (Joe) who gets embroiled in events that his crazy genius grandmother began when she embarked on a personal mission to make the world a better place through some kind of never really explained soundwaves (?) that mechanical bee's make when released into the world.
Joe gets thrown into a lot of different situations while being hunted down by various authorities and organisations and there is also a lot of background story about Joe's grandmother's lesbian lover (Edie) who happens to be a secret agent of some kind. This is to give the history of the mechanical devices and some background history of the characters. However the main problem I have with the story is that Joe is really hard to emphathise with. He's not an interesting character even though a lot of stuff happens to him. So I ended up not really caring whether he lived or died. And bizarrely his character changes with about a quarter to the book to go and he transforms into a gun waving gangster boss that his deceased father used to be. This shift doesn't endear him to me in any way nor did it's abruptness seem all that plausible.
I also found the writing style to be a bit awkward. It didn't seem to flow as well as some writers do. I am quite fond of Terry Pratchett books and I like fantasy and fiction. I think that Angelmaker could have been quite good if the way his characters reacted to events were a bit more believable and the listener could empathise with them more.
The performance of the book was really good and probably the main reason why I finished listening to it.