Alternate title : Clockwork, or All Wound Up
Imagine you’re an apprentice clock-maker. It is the day before you are supposed to unveil your personal masterpiece – an addition to the great clock tower in the center of town, the final step in your training. But you haven’t created a masterpiece. You haven’t created anything. Tomorrow will be your greatest humiliation, rather than a triumph.
But then a shadowy, sinister figure steps out of a story and offers you a clockwork statue of a knight, so intricate, so real, that to pass it off as yours would make you forever famous. Would it matter that this knight will seek out and kill anyone who utters the word “devil”? Would it matter that the price might be your soul?
The stories of Karl, the apprentice; Dr. Kalmenius, his nefarious “savior”; Gretl, the brave daughter of the town innkeeper; and a young prince whose clockwork heart is in danger of winding down come together in surprising and magical ways in a story that has behind it the relentless urgency of a ticking clock.
With this novella, as finely wrought as an exquisite timepiece, Philip Pullman shows again why he is considered one of the great writers of our time.
Philip Pullman (born 1946) is an English writer. He is the best-selling author of His Dark Materials, a trilogy of fantasy novels, and a number of other books.
Pullman was born in Norwich. The family travelled with his RAF pilot father's job, including to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where he spent time at school. His father was killed in a plane crash in 1953 when Pullman was seven. His mother remarried and with a move to Australia came Pullman's discovery of comic books including Superman and Batman. From 1957 he was educated at Ysgol Ardudwy school in Wales and spent time in Norfolk with his grandfather, a clergyman. Around this time Pullman discovered John Milton's Paradise Lost, which would ... (more)