A fantastical novel, a wildly inventive tale—by turns poignant and funny, lusty and wrenching—about love and heartbreak. Edinburgh, 1874: Born with a frozen heart, Jack is nearly dead when his mother abandons him to the care of Dr. Madeleine—witch doctor, midwife, protector of orphans—who saves Jack by placing a cuckoo clock in his chest. It is in her orphanage that Jack grows up, amid tear-filled flasks, eggs containing memories, a man with a musical spine.
In a world between wars, a young man on the cusp of taking priestly vows is suddenly made a fugitive. Fleeing the accusations of police who blame him for a murder, as well as more sinister forces with darker intentions, Vango attempts to trace the secrets of his shrouded past and prove his innocence before all is lost. As he crisscrosses the continent via train, boat, and even the Graf Zeppelin airship, his adventures take him from Parisian rooftops to Mediterranean islands to Scottish forests.
Fleeing dark forces and unfounded accusations across Europe in the dark years between World Wars, a young man named Vango has been in danger for as long as he can remember. He has spent his life jumping across rooftops, fleeing to isolated islands, and evading capture across Russia, Paris, New York, and Italy. Narrow escapes, near misses, and a dash of romantic intrigue will rivet adventurous teens to their seats as Vango continues to unravel the mysteries of his past.