The Clockwork Dynasty

The Clockwork Dynasty

Book - 2017
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"In the rugged landscape of eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact--a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message, addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia. Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two human-like mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in, and to survive amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them, will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, across the centuries to modern day."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385541787
Branch Call Number: SCI WILSO-D
Characteristics: 309 pages ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Clock-work dynasty


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Alex Awards

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults from the previous year, that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. Check out all of Tacoma Public Library's Alex Award winners. 2018 Winners All Systems Red The Clockwork Dynasty Down Among the Sticks and Bones Electric Arches A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea Roughneck She Rides Shotgun Things We Have in… (more)

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Jul 08, 2018

Daniel Wilson's best and surely one of the best SF novels of 2017. Mixing robotics, steampunk, alternative history, and spanning millennia and continents with an ancient hidden dynasty of humanoid automata, this gritty and brilliantly original story is, as one reviewer aptly said, a "fantastic hybrid of Highlander and The Terminator". It even recalls that crazy blend of real and imagined history that characterized Tim Power's finest book 'Declare'.

GCPL_Angela Aug 08, 2017

Completely unlike anything I've read before, but I enjoyed it. Quite violent for my tastes, but nothing so gory that I didn't want to continue reading. There are some really gorgeous, atmospheric descriptions here, and I found myself drawn into this world despite being a complete novice to this genre. I think sci-fi fans in particular will love this one.

The two things that came to mind when I was first starting this novel were Frankenstein and Terminator. And, I must say, Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Yet while there are plenty of battles here (maybe a few too many?), there are also bigger philosophical questions to consider: the search for meaning. The need for connection with one's own kind. The pull to understand where one comes from. The conflict between serving oneself and serving others.

I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I don't think it's converted me into a science fiction reader, but if there's a sequel (and it seems like there may be), there's a good chance I'll pick it up.

FindingJane Jul 06, 2017

This novel electrifies with its fictional examination of human history and a hidden, shadow world of automatons (called “automat” in the book) that run alongside it. The book winds elements of steampunk, Biblical literature, mythology and fairy tales as Peter tries to answer his purpose (truth and justice) and learn who and what he is. He has been lied to, used, abused, attacked and attacking in turn. He is both master of his fate and slave to it.

Pyotr/Peter and the others are run by a Word, a sigil written on a crescent-shaped piece inside their bodies. Wound up in his perpetual struggle to understand his origins and his creators are a human woman called June and a fellow automat called Elena.

June is a heroine to treasure, blessed as she is with intelligence, learning, skills and curiosity. She eschews finery (it would get in the way of the time-consuming, dirty work she favors) and marches almost fearlessly through the world in quest of an answer to a mystery given to her by her deceased grandfather.

Elena is a complex figure. She is powered by Logic but she has learned to express human emotion. She too is driven to learn like June. But her automat nature and the fact that she is fashioned to look like a child limits her to hiding. Unlike Peter and June, a child cannot march alone through the world without attracting unwanted attention. So Elena’s abilities cause her to go into hiding, learning as much as she can from humanity and, in time, gifting knowledge to human girls.

Both Elena and June are such powerful female creations that their personalities nearly overwhelm the simpler Peter, who spends much time as a warrior and therefore is the more action driven of the trio. Yet the three become wound inextricably in this intricate narrative of pseudo-history, science fiction, art, industry and the fire of war.

This is a grand saga, knotty, riveting (pun intended) and a fantastic whirligig ride of a story. It is so much more than the sum of its parts—much like the automat and humans within it.


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