The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street : The extraordinary, imaginative, magical debut novel

3.74 (28,310 ratings by Goodreads)
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An International Bestseller - A Guardian Summer Read - An Amazon Best Book of the Month - A Goodreads Best Book of the Month - A Buzzfeed Summer Read - A Foyles Book of the Month - AHuffington Post Summer Read - A Yorkshire Post Book of the Week

In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history.

When the watch saves Thaniel's life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori - a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something.

Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.

As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.

Utterly beguiling, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street blends historical events with dazzling flights of fancy to plunge readers into a strange and magical past, where time, destiny, genius - and a clockwork octopus - collide.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 32mm | 515g
  • Bloomsbury Circus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781408854297
  • 358,368

Review Text

[An] assured and absorbing debut . Immensely pleasurable reading. Ms. Pulley's prose is strong and energetic, with a wry edge, and even the most minor characters are drawn precisely . The Watchmaker of Filigree Street might be compared to one of Mori's clockwork birds: intricate, charming and altogether surprising Helene Wecker New York Times, Editors Choice
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Review quote

[An] assured and absorbing debut ... Immensely pleasurable reading. Ms. Pulley's prose is strong and energetic, with a wry edge, and even the most minor characters are drawn precisely ... The Watchmaker of Filigree Street might be compared to one of Mori's clockwork birds: intricate, charming and altogether surprising -- Helene Wecker * New York Times, Editors Choice * Forget steampunk. Welcome to tickpunk ... Part Susanna Clarke, part Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a delightful read that benefits from wonderfully colourful characters and a lyrical prose style full of esoteric detail ... a compelling read * SFX Magazine * Rare and precious ... humour, wit, mystery and danger are threaded through the book in musical measure. It dances between genres and makes partners of several ... Pulley's capacity for making antagonists out of fully realized and sympathetic characters is impressive, as is her ability to keep one guessing as the plot ticks along. There's nothing quite like putting down a delightful, relentlessly charming and deeply moving book and then finding out it's the authors first ... A remarkable debut * Los Angeles Times Book Review * Historical fiction, magic realism and elements of gothic fiction combine in this ambitious debut ... This is accomplished writing from Natasha Pulley, whose imagination shines through * Irish Times * Enchanting ... Amid this thriller-like plot, Pulley raises thought-provoking questions about free will, fate and identity - making for a rich brew of historical fantasy, philosophy and emotion * Washington Post * Elegantly composed, atmospheric and wholly compelling ... Pulley's style is reminiscent of filigree: a decorative work of fine strands woven together into a delicate tracery, which underpins the overarching plot. With music and time at the heart of this intriguing novel, the skilfully rendered interplay speaks volumes about the talent and imagination at work behind such an intricately beautiful piece of writing. A stunning debut by a promising new voice * The Lady , Book of the Month * The Watchmaker of Filigree Street breaks the mould ... Genre-busting book of extraordinary imagination ... The book is as elaborate as its title suggests, but the multiple plots tick along like clockwork ... Exceptionally inventive and uniquely clear-headed, this is speculative fiction as it should be * Country Life * This delightful first novel is as impressive as a work of historical fiction ... As it is a delicate fantasy with enough gadgetry to pull in the steampunk fans, and a mystery to boot ... Readers will immediately want to read it again * Library Journal * Pulley's electrifying debut is a triumph of speculative fiction. It captures the frenetic energy of a world undergoing extraordinary changes: London in the time of new electrical devices, Gilbert and Sullivan's theater, and the terror of Irish nationalist bombings ... Pulley expertly employs the tools of mystery and fantasy to examine the social pressures faced by the marginalized ... The heart of the story is the universal human quest for acceptance, understanding, and love * Publishers Weekly * Meticulously researched, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a compelling mixture of fact and fantasy ... The end of the book leaves the reader yearning for a sequel - and for a pet clockwork octopus (Keep reading it, you'll see) * The Skinny * Everything you could ask for from the steampunk genre. It is full of enticing period detail yet is not boringly over-researched. Its language is charmingly old-fashioned and richly cadenced, without being fusty or archaic ... She convincingly presents the telegraph system as a kind of proto-Internet. She conjures up such fanciful items as bottled weather. She muses philosophically on matters of free will and predestination. She illuminates the plight of unemancipated women ... And all of this in the most graceful and vivid language one could desire ... [a] poignant, funny, and heartfelt debut * Barnes & Noble Review * Set mostly in 1880s London, Pulley's debut novel twists typical steampunk elements-telegraphs, gaslight, clockwork automata-into a fresh and surprising philosophical adventure ... Clever and engaging, this impressive first novel will reward both casual readers looking for a fun period adventure and those fascinated by the tension between free will and fate * Kirkus * Pulley's imaginative first novel transports readers to a Victorian London teeming with danger and magic ... wholly original debut * Booklist * [A] masterful steampunk/mystery/historical fiction debut...a thrilling tale that sweeps readers into a dark and magical past. While The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is reminiscent of such steampunk classics as William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's The Difference Engine, Pulley's novel grounds itself in historical accuracy and exquisite prose, and even genre-adverse readers will be hooked * Bustle * A captivating and entertaining work of speculative fiction * BookBrowse * A unique blend of historical fiction and magical realism about the inextricable relationships between three people, a watch with magical powers and a clockwork octopus ... Ideal escapist holiday reading, your imagination will run riot * Irish Tatler * A clever detective story, a thrilling steampunk adventure and a poignant examination of the consequences of class warfare and English, Irish and Japanese nationalism in the 19th century * BookPage * Gorgeous ... I had high hopes for the Victorian-era novel. And I was not disappointed * Woman's Way * Blends historical events with clever flights of fancy ... An inventive debut; clever, intriguing, and astonishingly assured * Irish Examiner * Ten out of ten * Spectator * [A] brilliant novel in which fantasy punctuates history * Times Higher Education Supplement *
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About Natasha Pulley

Natasha Pulley studied English Literature at Oxford University. After stints working at Waterstones as a bookseller, then at Cambridge University Press as a publishing assistant in the astronomy and maths departments, she did the Creative Writing MA at UEA. She later studied in Tokyo, where she lived on a scholarship from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. She was chosen to be a Writer in Residence at Gladstone's Library and is now associate lecturer at Bath Spa University and panel tutor at the Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education. Her first novel, The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, was an international bestseller, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. The Bedlam Stacks is her second novel. She lives in Bath.

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Rating details

28,310 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 25% (7,184)
4 37% (10,492)
3 26% (7,460)
2 9% (2,454)
1 3% (720)
Book ratings by Goodreads
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