The thoughtful, blood-soaked conclusion to an alternate-history trilogy (The Rising, 2015, etc.) in which the Dutch rule Europe and the New World thanks to their control of Clakkers, mechanical servants fueled by clockwork and alchemy.
The mechanical Daniel has freed all Clakkers from their alchemical servitude to their human masters. Some Clakkers have simply walked away from their centuries of slavery. Others have come to the aid of the Dutch Empire’s underdog rival, the French. And many have chosen to violently revenge themselves on all humans, regardless of nationality. While the French struggle to seize the advantage and reclaim their long-abandoned homeland, the Dutch must accept that, contrary to their long-held beliefs, their metal creations are thinking, feeling beings…and what they are feeling is very, very angry. The battle between two nations metastasizes into a desperate fight for human survival. The Dutch and the French must put aside their centuries-old enmity to ally against their common foe: the monstrous mechanical Queen Mab, who seeks to draw all mechanicals—and all humans—under her sway, willingly or not. Rarely (possibly never?) in our history have slaves entered freedom with such significant physical and technological advantages over their former masters, and so it is interesting and frequently stomach-turning to witness how such a scenario would play out. The series makes it clear that mechanicals are not insensible machines; it emphasizes how deeply Clakkers feel and how profoundly they experience pain when they attempt to defy orders, how dreadful it is for Clakkers (and humans) to be without free will, and how devastatingly confusing it can be to have it restored. Their often violent response is disturbing but highly understandable, practically inevitable, in context.
A frighteningly frank and brutal consideration of slavery, post-slavery, and colonialism in metallic garb.