London, 1857. Brothers George and Douglas Abernathy are clockmakers who are barely scraping a living in their family’s shop. They are also brilliant inventors with a sideline building custombuilt androids and other technology ahead of its time. Their sixteen-year-old sister, Molly, is also a genius, specialising in transformative plant biology, but earns her keep by sewing.
The Abernathys’ fortunes improve dramatically when the brothers invent a clockwork automaton composer named Maestro, whose musical artistry takes London by storm. But there are those who believe Maestro is a fake, and others who think him a monstrosity. As Maestro tries to make sense of the world of London’s highsociety which he is thrown into, he incites the interest of sinister figures who would go to any lengths to discover what makes him tick.
A delightful steampunk tinged tale of a machine that can think and feel, a musical genius made of pistons and clockwork.
Maestro and the Abernathys are tremendously fun characters and the story is a real romp through Victorian London, with dodgy professors, dastardly villains, an Earl with more money than sense (though he turns out to be kind) and mad inventors.
Molly is easily the best Abernathy, with her weird and wonderful plants and dangerous fruit, flying Spuggy and saving the day, because obviously everyone underestimates the girl!
I hope this evolves into a serious as there’s definitely scope for more hijinks and magical machines. I also want more clockwork mice nibbling things and little machines tidying up – it was marvellous.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.