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Angelmaker [Hardcover]

Nick Harkaway
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
RRP: £12.99
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

From the acclaimed author of The Gone-Away World - a new riveting action spy thriller, blistering gangster noir, and howling absurdist comedy: a propulsively entertaining tale about a mobster's son and a retired secret agent who are forced to team up to save the world.

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? Unknown. 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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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: 16.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,018 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

Review

"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A frustrating mixed bag 22 Jan 2013
By January
Format:Paperback
There are some wonderful, inventive ideas in here. The Ruskinites are a great creation, and rather touching with it; the effect of the Doomsday machine is frightening and original.

On the other hand, there's also a lot of annoying whimsy and juvenilia. It's trying far too hard to be cool.The main characters are cyphers, spouting identikit 'snappy' Tarantino-style dialogue, and it's very difficult to feel anything for any of them, or care about their fates. The silly names don't help. The female characters are particularly one-dimensional and unconvincing, consisting almost entirely of lithe bisexual women who get turned on by absolutely everything (in one section, one of them is turned on by the sight of her own forearm. Sigh.) As a female reader it can feel quite alienating - these are women created by male fantasy. The sheer amount of over-the-top, cringeworthy sex scenes is exasperating. It reads, at times, like something written by a hyperventilating teenage boy. You wish he'd pull himself together and focus on the plot, which can be gripping, but you'll be lucky if the action's not interrupted by pages of interminable stuff about the nature of causality or a long description of something that isn't as interesting as the author thinks it is. When you do get the action, it's often over-egged with hyper-violence and gratuitous nastiness which in the end becomes more tiresome than shocking. As others have said, also, it needs a really good edit. I've found myself skipping whole sections of superfluous stuff. You would have thought the issue might have been resolved post-Gone Away World, but Angelmaker is almost as verbose.

But then, I'm still reading it. It's gripping. Just prepare to be frustrated.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Long-winded but okayish in the end 20 July 2012
By Skippy
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Angel Delight 15 Aug 2014
By tallpete33 TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I quite like and respect this book for its ambition and wordy attention to detail however it was the latter that caused me to get bogged down and almost half way through made me call it a day. You know something’s wrong when you keep checking how many pages you’ve read and how many are left - at 550+ pages this ain’t short. With it’s too-clever-by-half writing style this was a real plodder for me and I started to resent the time invested for dubious reward. I think if I was retired and could give it more time during the day and not just battle through half a dozen pages at bed time things may have been different but I’m not so sure. The author tries way too hard to make everybody a “character” with a fanciful name and shady past or present but it became a bit tiresome and also confusing with jumps between different eras and characters. It’s a bit sixth form in parts and whilst Harkaway definitely has a good imagination, he also laboriously subscribes to the “why use 10 words when 100 will do?” school of thought and it’s for that reason “I’m oot”.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted to Like This Book (maybe I still will, but not today)
I'm about half way through and I am seriously struggling with it. Some parts are good, other parts just didn't flow for me, and I am questioning why am I still reading this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vogun52
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre and Brilliant.
Utterly brilliant. Bizarre, funny and intricate like Joe Spork's clocks. Beautifully written and chock full of great characters. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Julia Manning
5.0 out of 5 stars NH is simply wonderful - techy
Why did it take me so long to find this writer? NH is simply wonderful - techy, but not too much, fabulous characters and an insight to more worlds within worlds. Read more
Published 1 month ago by onlysize3feet
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic and gripping
For anyone that misses the kinds of stories that Michael Marshall Smith used to write (Only Forward, Spares etc). Read more
Published 2 months ago by AmazonMonster
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Loved this book, original and engaging Thoroughly enjoyed diving into the world Harkaway creates: was disappointed to finish. Read it!!
Published 3 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read for months
I read Nick Harkaway's The Gone Away World when it first came out. It took a long while for me to get into it, but then I loved it. Angelmaker was different. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mrs. K. A. Wheatley
2.0 out of 5 stars Jules Vernes' universe revisited. Disappointing
I really wanted to love the book because the synopsis on the back cover was promising. It stars slowly and all the different stories (happening in the past and present) collide in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jose
4.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk meets Dark Materials
What is the machine? Who are the secret societies trying to use it? Who are those protecting the world from destruction? Read more
Published 4 months ago by Helen Highwater
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, whimsical romp
A London criminal-underground caper that reminded me of Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmations, Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius, Mieville's Kraken, with a name-check for The Great Dinosaur... Read more
Published 5 months ago by John W
2.0 out of 5 stars Eventually disappointing
Well written. Interesting and engaging at first, but eventually just turns out to be a bit silly and tedious. The last third felt interminable. Read more
Published 5 months ago by The Grenouille
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