A BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick and Sunday Times Historical Fiction Book of the Month, for fans of PANDORA, THE ESSEX SERPENT and THE NIGHT CIRCUS.
Longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2023 and the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2023.
'I just fell in love with it within the first two sentences . . .' - Ruth Jones
'One of the best books I've read this year . . . completely unforgettable' - Bonnie Garmus
Zachary Cloudesley is gifted in a remarkable way. But not all gifts are a blessing...
Leadenhall Street, London, 1754.
Raised amongst the cogs and springs of his father's workshop, Zachary Cloudesley has grown up surrounded by strange and enchanting clockwork automata. He is a happy child, beloved by his father Abel and the workmen who help bring his father's creations to life.
He is also the bearer of an extraordinary gift; at the touch of a hand, Zachary can see into the hearts and minds of the people he meets.
But then a near-fatal accident will take Zachary away from the workshop and his family. His father will have to make a journey that he will never return from. And, years later, only Zachary can find out what happened.
A beautifully crafted historical mystery of love and hope, and the adventure of finding your place in the world.
'Packed with intrigue, vividly drawn characters and heartstopping emotion, this beautifully written, ingeniously crafted debut is absolutely enthralling' - Sunday Express
'Really transports you to a different time and place' - Sara Cox, Radio Times
'A dashing, magical debut . . . intricately plotted, and peopled with intriguing characters' - Daily Mail