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by Philip Pullman
Release date: 1998
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, childrens

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.

updated 2015-07-23

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