Mainspring is the story of Hathor Jacques, a young American orphan and horologist's apprentice, given the quest to find 'The Key Perilous' by the Archangel Gabriel. He must rewind the mainspring of the clockwork world before the globe halts on its brass tracks and brings about the end of everything.
Mainspring is both a 'Clockpunk' fantasy and an alternative history. The clockwork world is our world, but Hathor's America is still a colony of Britain and he and his compatriots are subjects of Queen Victoria. The world is divided by a great wall around the equator and the southern earth is a mystery.
Hathor's attempts to get help with his quest lead him to disenfranchisement, violence, imprisonment, the press gang (aboard one of He Majesty's Airships) and to an understanding of his world.
He meets enemies, comrades-in-arms, friends and lovers and untimately....
For me personally, there is a too much religion, and humanists receive short shrift, but in the context of the book (with an immanent or absent but otherwise 'real' deity) this works so it doesn't bother me too much.
You need to hear the book for yourself. I look forward to the sequel, which I hope will be on Audible soon after it is released.
It is difficult to write anything about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell that has not already been written, but Simon Prebble's reading takes this already superb modern fantasy and provides it with a tone and dramatic quality that makes a print copy almost redundant.
I listened to this book on my phone, my iPAQ or my iPOD, whenever and where ever I could get the time.
We Could Do Worse is an excellent collection of Alternative History short stories, one of my favourite genres.
The readings are excellent, and the different voices match very well the different subject matter and tone of each story.
The weakest story is possibly "A Massachusetts Yankee in King Arthur's Court" by Harry Turtledove, about JFK, the real Camelot and a queen with strong appetites; I'm not a fan of Harry Turtledove, I find his writing a bit turgid, but the story is still a lot of fun, and the narrator gives us a bit of 'Boston Bray' to keep it light and on track. "The Arrival of Truth" about a slave uprising in the American South is truly poignant, and "Goddard's People" is a wonderful story of a great pioneer who might have done even more for modern rocketry if the world was slightly different, or if he had been both less and more that he was.
The stories are about a 'worse' history that is sometimes better, and sometimes both.
Please Audible, more Alt. Hist. compilations!
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