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The clockwork dynasty : a novel
2017
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A young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology makes the astonishing discovery that a race of human-like machines has been hiding among people for untold centuries. By the best-selling author of Robopocalypse. - (Baker & Taylor)

A young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology makes the astonishing discovery that a race of human-like machines has been hiding among people for untold centuries. - (Baker & Taylor)

"An epic, ingenious new thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse, The Clockwork Dynasty weaves a riveting path through history and a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries. In the rugged landscape of eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact--a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message, addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia. Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two human-like mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in, and to survive‎ amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them, will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, across the centuries to modern day. The Clockwork Dynasty is Daniel H. Wilson's masterful new novel. It seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings that live by different principles than humans, but ultimately value loyalty. As June learns more about these beings, she is quickly drawn into a fierce battle that has spanned the centuries, and will ultimately determine the survival or extermination of this ancient race. Richly-drawn and heart-pounding, Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisite characters with breathtaking technology--and unmatched action. The Clockwork Dynasty is a riveting, breakout novel"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse.

Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past&;
 
Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar&;s loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.
 
The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson&;s novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology&;and riveting action. - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

DANIEL H. WILSON is the bestselling author of Robopocalypse, Robogenesis, and Amped, among others. He was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and earned a B.S. in computer science from the University of Tulsa and a Ph.D. in robotics from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two children. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The latest novel from the author of Robopocalypse (2011) reveals the existence of an ancient group (almost a race) of mechanical beings who have lived among humans for millennia. The avtomat—the name is based on the Russian word for automaton—can pass for humans, and they will do anything to keep their existence a secret, but they have one rather serious problem: they do not know how they were created, nor do they know how to recharge their power source. When anthropologist June Stefanov makes a startling discovery (a mechanical doll containing something that has never before been seen by human eyes), she's thrust into the middle of a deadly war between opposing avtomat factions. Brilliantly conceived and executed, the novel is at least as hypnotically compelling as Robopocalypse and its sequel, Robogenesis (2014), and it's written with an elegance we haven't seen from the author until now. This is science fiction at its best—thoughtful, challenging, beautifully written, and astonishing. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A feisty young anthropologist discovers a secret civilization of mechanical souls. Wilson (Robogenesis, 2014, etc.) continues his obsession with intelligent machines in this ambitious fantasy, melding the real-life past with a secret history of seemingly immortal mechanical beings who call themselves avtomat: "Maybe the closest analogue in English is the word robot." The book opens as young June Stefanov listens to her grandfather's memory of a mechanical soldier he encountered at Stalingrad. "There are strange things in the world, June," he says. "Things older than we know. Walking with the faces of men...there are angels among us." From here, the book pivots between grown-up June, who seeks out mechanical antiquities on behalf of the shadowy Kunlun Foundation, and Peter Alexeyvich and Elena Petrova, two mechanical beings resurrected in Moscow circa 1709 by Giacomo Favorini, the last mechanician of Czar Peter the Great. Both tales are thrilling and very different. Peter's fo rm is that of a young man, while his "sister" Elena looks like a 12-year-old girl. After the czar dies, the two are forced to flee to London, where Peter takes up arms as a soldier of fortune and Elena finds a way to live her long life in the body of a child. Back in the present day, June is hunted by Talus Silferström, enforcer for an ancient avtomat called Leizu, before being rescued by Peter, who is a pivotal character in a war between warring steampunk leviathans. This bold adventure is a stew of cult-classic concepts—the avtomat reflect the Immortals in the Highlander franchise, while the ancient and deadly Elena is reminiscent of child vampire Claudia in Interview with the Vampire (1976). It may wear its influences on its sleeve but it's also a welcome treat for steampunk and fantasy fans. A thrilling mix of influences, much like Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Giants (2016) and HBO's Westworld, that creates a captivating scenario begging for many sequels. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews

The author of Robopocalypse draws on his knowledge of robotics in a tale of historically based sf. Young scientist June discovers a 300-year-old mechanical doll, showing that she's not crazy to believe her grandfather's stories about a living race of automatons stalking the earth. Optioned for film.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Library Journal Reviews

June travels the world seeking rare antique automatons. Her interest in such objects was fixed from an early age when her Russian grandfather told her a story of seeing a man on a World War II battlefield and then gave her a relic from that encounter, which seems to be a piece of intricate clockwork. When her employers hear about the artifact, June's life is in jeopardy. She soon learns that there are clockworkmen and -women, known as avtomat, who live among us. One such clockworkman calling himself Peter offers to assist her. In alternating chapters, readers learn Peter's history, from his awakening in the court of the tsar to his realization that he has a greater purpose, which June is uniquely placed to help him achieve. In short chapters, each ending on moments of tension, Wilson (Robopocalypse) keeps readers engaged, and even if the origins of the avtomat and their goals could have been explored more, many readers will be happy to settle into the momentum. VERDICT A well-crafted summer read. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]—MM

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

PW Annex Reviews

While the idea of a hidden history of sentient clockwork beings may be intriguing, Wilson's execution is inconsistent and sometimes self-contradictory. Narration alternates between a present-day anthropologist named June and a magically empowered automaton named Peter, who begins his tale in 1709 Moscow. June's field of study is mechanical antiquities, which is pretty convenient, since a relic that came into her possession through coincidence is about to drop her in the middle of the hidden civil war between sentient machines. The story is challenging to sink into, with very short chapters jumping back and forth in time and place in a way that is meant to be complementary but comes across as jarring. The novel is further hampered by main characters who are flat and lacking in personality, a homogeneous cast, weak coincidences, and lackluster heroics. (Aug.)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

School Library Journal Reviews

June, an anthropologist who specializes in ancient technologies, unwittingly puts herself in danger after she reveals a secret about the relic her grandfather left her when he died. A lethal robot, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the artifact, attacks her, but she is rescued by another mechanical being, Peter, who has been programmed to devote his life to justice. Dual narratives follow June in the present day and Peter throughout his prolonged existence in modern and ancient history as he tries to learn when and why he was created. A hidden world where robots pose as humans conceals in plain sight a centuries-old conflict involving automatons who were each created with a unique passion and code. The chapters are brief, with the rapid pace of a Dan Brown novel. There's plenty of action here, but Wilson also raises questions about the purpose of life and what makes someone human. VERDICT For followers of the author's "Robopocalypse" series as well as fans of fast-moving steampunk or anyone who has graduated from Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret.—Carrie Shaurette, Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

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