Kirkus Star


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Jeter's previous ""cyberpunk"" outing (The Glass Hammer) showed considerable promise; here, in a radically new departure, he comes into his own with this weird, complicated, and often very funny roller-coaster of a Victorian fantasy. George Dower, mild-mannered and not very knowledgeable owner of a clockwork-repair shop in Victorian London, becomes the victim of a series of bizarre and threatening events. Who, for instance, are the oddly fishlike inhabitants of the borough of Wetwick, and why does a fake sovereign (bearing an impression of ""Saint Monkfish"") exert such a peculiar influence over them? Why does Lord Bendray want to blow up the world, and what part does a mysterious and incomprehensible clockwork mechanism built by George's genius father play in Bendray's plans? Why do a pair of traveling showmen and confidence tricksters talk like 1980's American street punks, and why are they decorating a church with fishing tackle and copies of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler? And, worst of all for poor George, why does a mechanical Paganini/Casanova (also built by George's father) resemble George to an uncanny degree, and why is the simulacrum apparently bent on ruining George's gentlemanly reputation? These are just some of the mad plotlines joyously bursting forth from this skillfully handled, wonderfully inventive, and agreeably witty adventure. Recommendation: don't miss it!

Pub Date: April 20th, 1987
ISBN: 0857660977
Publisher: St. Martin's