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Angelmaker Hardcover – 2 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann; First Edition edition (2 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 043402094X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434020942
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.7 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 270,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

What? What can I possibly tell you? I was born in Cornwall. I live in London. I have the best wife imaginable, wonderful kids. My life is presently devoid of those meaningful traumas we're all supposed to believe are the seat of creative energy. I like Italian wine, Swiss skiing, English cheese and Belgian beer, deckled edges, Asian food, and writing. I don't like shellfish. They are yuck. A friend of mine recently told me she can't eat squid any more because squid are sort of charming and friendly, and now I feel guilty about calamari.

I care about things. Random things, unlikely things.

I'm a messy person.

I write on a variety of digital devices of varying antiquity. I like pens and paper, too.

I read widely, not in a very focused way. I retain knowledge in patterns rather than lists.

I really like spa hotels.

I'm not a fan of movies whose central theme is the lack of availability of root crops. This is a surprisingly large genre.

I once accidentally ate my breakfast next to a live tiger.

Product Description


"One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in ages… It’s brilliantly entertaining… Pure, unhinged delight. What a splendid ride."--Patrick Ness, The Guardian

"A novel of adventure, love and intrigue… Makes the reader grin with pleasure… Harkaway has given us, for the second time, a box of delights."--The Independent

"Wildly imaginative… Wonderfully entertaining… A hardback that looks as gorgeously ornate as its contents."--The Times

"Fizzingly imaginative… A wildly, irrepressibly exuberant new-weird/fantasy/thriller/comedy."--Daily Mail

"A must for fans of John Le Carré and Jasper Fforde…"--Elle

Book Description

An adventure story, a war story, and a love story, all wound into one brilliant narrative that runs like clockwork.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By P. McCLEAN on 31 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Joshua Joseph Spork is a name that will be with me for a long time, if not the rest of my life. He is an antique dealer, expert repairer of things clockwork, son of a submachine toting crook, and the main character in Nick Harkaway's spy adventure novel, "Angelmaker".

When I reviewed Nick's previous novel, "The Gone-Away World", I described it as "a fast paced tale that covers a lot of ground and doesn't let you rest for a minute". Well, he's done it again. The same pace; subtle, and not so subtle humour; intricate plot, and breadth of scope are all present. "The Gone-Away World" convinced me I should read anything Nick writes. "Angelmaker" reinforced this conviction.

Without being specific I can tell you that Joe Spork, like any central character in a spy novel, finds himself in a troublesome situation with different elements of his life falling asunder. For someone who just wants a quiet life this is rather troubling. In addition, he is surrounded by characters who may be on his side, or possibly the other. For that matter, he doesn't know what or who the other side is.

We also meet Edie Banister and her pet dog. Don't be fooled by Edie Banister's outward appearance. She may be a little old lady in her eighties, but in her heart she is something very different.

Nick's characters are impeccably drawn, his language artful, and his plot intriguing. This was one of those books that I was sorry to finish and that, I have to admit, had me with a lump in my throat at the end.

"Angelmaker" is much more than a spy novel. It is a tale of struggle and loyalty; a story of family and righteousness; and a narrative of how a legacy of former years can visit havoc on the present day world. It also poses the questions, "Who is really in control?", "What are they really trying to do?" and "Do they have a clue what they're doing?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Benner TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
Nick Harkaway's first book, "The Gone-Away World", was a blockbuster tour-de-force that defied categorisation and displayed a unique combination of a versatile, far-ranging imagination, with a highly developed sense of storytelling which made the incredible seem more than plausible and the impossible almost mundane. His second book, "Angelmaker", feels to been quite a long time in coming. Happily, it has been well worth the wait and the author's fans will be relieved to know that it is every bit as wild and wacky (and yet just as utterly believable) as the earlier work.

In a change from the futuristic setting of "Gone Away World", "Angelmaker" is a contemporary tale of terrorism, counter-terrorism, fanaticism, organised crime, state-sponsored paranoia and plain, honest horology, tempered with family issues, romance, religious fervour, psychotic mass murderers, more fanaticism, honour, love and the triumph of good over evil (eventually). It features the most amazing contribution to Britain's secret service ever to appear in literature anywhere (Nick Harkaway's parentage notwithstanding). Oh yes, and of course, an elderly and bad-tempered (mostly) toothless pug (which gives new meaning to the word "pugnacious") and a tremendous quantity of clockwork golden bees, out to alter the human race's receptivity to truth.

In short, "Angelmaker" is yet another blockbusting tour-de-force, guaranteed to blow the mind and captivate the reader through every single one of its 570-odd pages and still leave you begging for more! The writing is, if anything, even better than in "Gone Away World", the characters even more loveable and laudable, and the plot even more convoluted and bizarre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kiray007 on 8 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With Angelmaker, his second novel, Nick Harkaway proves that he has a distinct 'voice' - both in the way he arranges words on the page and the ideas that his writing explores - and it's a voice I definitely want to hear more of. Like it's predecessor, Gone Away World, Angelmaker is a book that celebrates and refuses to simplify language, as seems so very modern and terribly dull.

Don't worry, you won't need a dictionary, but you will be utterly engaged in this dangerous and nostalgic version of London where the gloriously imagined old criminal underworld and horrors of modern government/policy collide spectacularly.

As with writers like Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, who seem familiar presences here, Nick presents an ultimately optimistic view of the nature of man, and in a literary world where this view seems increasingly rare, I am grateful for writers who give us complex characters like Joe Spork, who can face the darkest of our world without becoming it.

Not quite the swashbuckling tale of Gone Away World, where our hero is already a soldier who must learn what it is he is fighting, Angelmaker presents a quieter sort of hero, who must learn what it means to stand up and how it is that he must fight, his way, the way that only he can.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Skippy on 20 July 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did change my mind very slightly by the end but this is still a very long-winded, loosely edited book that could have been a third of the length and much tighter. The story meanders around like an engineered culvert built by a millionare madman, it just feels laboured. The violence (even the torture) has no reality and no humanity - it just seems like Violence Lite. I keep thinking.. Phillip Pullman on a very bad day when he kept writing despite the fact that he couldn't think of anything to write about.
I you like this you'll probably like Lord of the Rings, and maybe Wild Wild West (film).
If you like your atmospheric London fiction a little better crafted you'll prefer Rivers of London (Ben Aaronovitch).
Nice cover though.
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