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Clockwork [Paperback]

Philip Pullman , Paul Bailey
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Sep 1997
A magical tale featuring a tormented clock-maker, a deadly knight in armour, a mechanical prince, and the sinister Dr. Kalmenius, who some say is the devil. There are puzzles and riddles, and twists and turns in the plot.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi Childrens; New edition edition (4 Sep 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440863430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440863434
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.6 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 540,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Product Description

Amazon Review

While Philip Pullman's greatest popularity is as a creator of novel-length magical realism for young adults, such as The Northern Lights, he continues to explore and stretch the limits of other children's and young adult genres. Clockwork is no exception. With its inspiration lying solidly in the German romantic tradition of E.T.A. Hoffmann and the Brothers Grimm, the story begins, as all good fairy tales do, with someone whose human weakness sets events inescapably in motion. As the townspeople of Glockenheim gather in the White Horse Tavern on the eve of the unveiling of a new figure for their great town clock, Karl, the clockmaker's apprentice, reveals to Fritz, a young storyteller, that he has not been able to construct the figure. A new clock figure is expected of all apprentices, and Karl is the first in hundreds of years to fail. Fritz, in his turn, has the beginnings of a new story to tell, and as it rolls off his tongue, its dark antagonist materializes and offers Karl his dearest wish. Not surprisingly, Karl's Faustian pact brings him destruction, but an innocent child is the deus ex machina that saves another child and the spirit of the town from seemingly ineluctable oblivion. With its eerie black-and-white illustrations by Leonid Gore and its happily-ever-after ending to some thrilling suspense, Clockwork is a fine fairy tale for younger children and a thought- provoking twist on the art of narrative for older ones. --Barrie Trinkle


"A thrilling masterwork on stories that become real" (Amanda Craig The Times)

"It has the feel of a classic fairy tale. It's the most elegantly constructed, chilling story that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck" (Jacqueline Wilson)

"Deeply satisfying and deserves to become a classic" (TES)

"Exciting, scary, romantic and deliciously readable" (Guardian)

"It is Pullman's talent for creating an atmospheric mood and tugging at your emotions to add pace and suspense that really keeps you entranced" (Junior) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars don't be put off by the skeleton on the cover - 18 April 2003
'Clockwork' is one of the miniature marvels of modern storytelling, a thrilling tale about good versus evil, kindness versus selfishness and life versus art. The tape, read by Anton Lesser, has just kept my children spellbound in the car for its entire duration.
The great clock of Glockenheim (which really exists)features clockwork figures that come out and move at different times of day or year, and the prospect of a new one by Karl, the clock-maker's apprentice is an event that has people coming from far and wide. On the eve of this great event, a number of people gather in the local inn to hear the latest story by Frtiz, a novelist, who is famed for his hair-raising tales. The one he tells tonight is about their ruler, Prince Otto, who returned from a hunting expedition with his little son Florian, with no heart, only a piece of clockwork that caused him to lash and lash his horses...
Just so, says the narrator, is a story wound up - and this is a tale as finely balanced as a work by the sinister Dr.Kalemenius. How can a little clockwork Prince find a new heart? How can Karl redeem himself from not having fulfilled his contract?
A marvellous, creepy, wise and funny story about a Faustian pact and storytelling itself, it's perfect for children of 7 upwards.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cliff hanger to remember... 15 Mar 2007
By Romelly
Clockwork by Philip Pullman is one of the most gripping and entertaining books I have ever read, it has thrills and leaves you on a cliff hanger on almost every page.

I read it in about 3 or 4 days, it's one of those books which you start reading thinking you might not like it, then after a chapter you can't put the book down. It was the first Philip Pullman book I've read, and now I can't wait to read another one of his books, or even read Clockwork again.

I'd recommend it by far, and would you believe that I came across this book in my school.(WHAT A GREAT BOOK TO PICK!!)

From Romelly aged 10
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 26 Jan 2005
By A Customer
I've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy and his Sally Lockhart quartet, and loved both series, and I'd been considering buying this for some time. I only got round to it a few days ago, and I'm so glad I did - it's an absolutely fantastic story, brilliantly constructed and written. Don't be put off by its appearance as a "kid's book" - I'm in my 20s and was blown away by it. It has the feel of a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. There are quirky characters, magical and scary creations, and a wonderful atmosphere. What's so impressive about it is the way the story is constructed - just like, as the title suggest, clockwork. It's told in two separate parts, which both lead up to a third part when the two stories come together - but the second part is very much a part of the first part, seen from a different point of view. There are also insightful and amusing little asides on almost every page, little snippets of information, like the little cogs that all add up to make a clock work. You get little pieces of the puzzle, and finally everything comes together and makes sense at the end - it is a fantastic story. Overall, a wonderful book by Philip Pullman, who has the amazing ability to write stories that appeal to both adults and children. I can't wait to read more of his fairy tales.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for readers of all ages 21 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This is the first book I have read by Philip Pullman but it certainly won't be the last. This is a book which draws you in right from the start and leaves you thinking about it long after you've turned the last page. A mix of science fiction and fantasy which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pullman is not just about Northern Lights 5 Oct 2009
Format:Audio CD
As the narrator of this scary fairy tale says, Pullman winds up his story and lets it play and it is dark and terrifying in the great tradition of Grimm and Andersen. The people of Glockenheim gather in the White Horse Tavern to hear the young storyteller Fritz tell a ghost story. Slumped at the bar is the clockmaker's apprentice, Karl, who is due to reveal his clockwork figure for the famous town clock the next day but hasn't made it yet. But Fritz has left his story unfinished and counted on being struck by inspiration when he comes to the end. Instead, the story begins to take on a life of its own and a terrible stranger enters the inn and offers Karl his heart's desire, and his choice between right and wrong sets the story ticking on.

Pullman doesn't disappoint, a haunting short read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars clockwork or "wound up" reveiw by jade boycott 25 Nov 2003
it is a great book by a great author, Phillip Pullman has really tried to take you into the pages and release the magic and he has succeded i would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries, it is a great investigation for all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd say better than 'his dark materials' 31 Aug 2008
By Kelly
i bought this book because when i was at junior school (yr 6) my teacher read this to the class, and i was encased in the story from then on, this is a brilliant story even if after you read it you're not quite sure what it was about. it isn't a very long book so it's perfect to read to your kids (those that don't scare easy) i am now 17 and still look on this book with fond memories.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I loved this book because it reminded me of a modern version of Grimms Fairy Tales. It has a certain gothic horror element to it, whilst being very amusing as well. Pullman combines the two very effectively so that you a frightened one minute and then laughing the next. All the characters are really well crafted but Dr Kalmenius is definitely the best and gets 10 out of 10 for villainy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a good book
Bought this for my son to use at school, he liked the story as the easy to read writing. Overall a good book.
Published 1 month ago by IAN
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I bought this book for my 11 year old for Christmas. He is loving reading it. Thanks for speedy despatch.
Published 3 months ago by MRS J HUTTON
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy Story for Kids
Great for children over 8. Might frighten the younger ones. Grandson studying this in Year 5 English so it is very useful for research.
Published 6 months ago by Anne P. Chisnall
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for any age!!!
Had to read this book for a uni assignment. I enjoyed it so much that I finished it in 1 day!!!
Definitely recommend this book for those who enjoy intrigue and suspense
Published 7 months ago by Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars just lovely
I'm a huge fan of his work and this only served to reinforce my esteem of his work. This is a lovely, short book. Clever and subtle, as always.
Published 8 months ago by mcclean
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning
Just as you would expect just a brilliant text from the master if children's literature! My year 6 children just adored every sentence! Read more
Published 11 months ago by TiMbo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read for 9 year old son
My 9 year old son has always been reluctant to read. Nothing really to do with ability, more the fact he hasn't been 'gripped' by a story in the past. Read more
Published 11 months ago by DC
5.0 out of 5 stars present for a friend
This was a birthday present, and very well received . . . . . . . . . . .
Published 11 months ago by kml
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good
The book is amazing and during transport, there was no damage delivered to the book. The book came early and was the perfect size to fit through the letterbox so there was no need... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Steph Medler
5.0 out of 5 stars philip pullman
bought for my son to read, seems a good book but he's not had the chance to read it yet
Published 17 months ago by Mrs T
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