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Angelmaker [Hardcover]

Nick Harkaway
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Kindle Edition 3.99  
Hardcover 10.39  
Paperback 5.59  
Audio, CD, Audiobook 19.47  
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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 (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,214 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
28 of 28 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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19 of 21 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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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure, humour, tragedy, romance and bees 30 Jan 2012
By I Readalot TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Back in June 2008 I picked up a debut novel `The Gone-Away World' that frankly blew me away and left me wondering what Nick Harkaway would come up with next and indeed how he could write anything better. When a proof copy of `The Angelmaker' came into my possession I couldn't have been happier and all other reading was put on hold. Anyone who enjoyed `The Gone-Away World' is going to love this.

Joe Spork is trying to live a quiet life, not easy when your (deceased father) was an infamous mobster - Matthew `Tommy Gun' Spork. On the first page we learn of how his father hijacked a lorry load of Argyll socks destined for St Andrew's Golf Club, ridiculous, bizarre but hilarious to read. Joe spends his life mending clockwork and when a `friend' hears of a clockwork mechanism that needs repairing Joe is called in. Unfortunately this leads to him unknowingly triggering a doomsday device `The Apprehension Engine' and a bit like Richard Hannay in `The 39 Steps' he is on the run and caught between the Government and a sinister organization known as `The Ruskinites', taking their name from the 19th century art and literary critic John Ruskin. This weapon is unlike anything you have come across before.

Joe comes into contact with another inspired creation in Edie Bannister, a former spy now in her 80's who has grown bored and craves excitement again. She spent years trying to kill her nemesis Shem Shem Tsien but he just refused to die. Joe and Edie join forces to save the world's population from a fate worse than death, with some help from his underworld contacts. Nick Harkaway has a slightly warped and subversive sense of humour which suffuses just about every page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 16 days 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 1 month 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 1 month ago by The Grenouille
5.0 out of 5 stars Favourite New Author
Superb book, well written & well paced. Very imaginative & certainly leaves some scope for more from the characters. It's kinda fantasy, kinda action & adventure & kinda amazing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Gareth W
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Really good plot kept you guessing all the way through. You got to know all the characters and could "see" them quite clearly. A smashing read.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. W.
5.0 out of 5 stars A cast of characters in a jolly good romp!
I loved this book! Read it for book club and it had a mixed reaction. If you like multi layered stories that all come together then read on. Read more
Published 2 months ago by bookclubgirl
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to love it -- thus double the disappointment
The book is a slow start, but you get into it. It has its moments, very measured, and you think, it's like the clockwork bees themselves. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Merro M.
3.0 out of 5 stars overly convoluted
But a good read. Crime, skulduggery, honour, love and the most evil of enemies all put together in a mixing pot make for good fun
Published 2 months ago by J. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
I loved "The Gone-Away World" and this was more in the same vein. The world described is more familiar, but still different from our own. Read more
Published 2 months ago by T. Adshead
4.0 out of 5 stars A classy mess
Angelmaker would not normally be a book for me and it gets 4 stars in part because it did just enough to make me stick with it with some classy writing amidst the somewhat messy... Read more
Published 3 months ago by DN PERKS
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