Like the name suggests, this book hinges on gears and more intricate gears, all interconnecting as the novel moves along. The book follows Nathaniel (known as Thaniel) Steepleton, a British Civil in 1883 London. When a mysterious watch turns up in his flat and then saves him from a deadly bomb planted by the Irish group Clan na Gael, Thaniel’s life changes drastically from the mundane to the overly exciting; plunging him into the world of spying and danger.
The plot includes the watchmaker himself, Keita Mori, a Japanese nobleman, the creator of intricate watches, birds, fairies and a pet octopus. His gear-work is well advanced; but even more mysteriously he seems to have knowledge of many future events, or more accurately, future possibilities. As the novel advances, Thaniel becomes caught-up in relationships both complicated and unconventional, to the point that he is unsure where his loyalties lay.
The character and plot development are built slowly, but with the painstaking cleverness of a master watchmaker. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I appreciated Pulley’s attention to detail, building of suspense and the whole mysteriousness of the novel. I highly recommend this book!