The Clockwork Dynasty: A Novel
June Stefanov spends her time traveling the world and exploring ancient automatons, the marvelous clockwork entities that once wowed guests in royal courts, private collections, and upper-class salons. But some automatons are more than relics from an earlier age: some are evidence of a secret war between mechanical beings, one that has raged for centuries. As June and an unexpected ally seek out the origins of a clockwork race, June discovers she may have a role to play, either in the race’s survival or its ultimate destruction.
The Clockwork Dynasty is a wonderful melding of history and mythology, ricocheting from chapter to chapter between the modern day and events centuries before. Wilson makes the most of the back-and-forth storytelling, working in plenty of cliffhangers that are more charming than forced.
Alternate history as a genre tends to be incredibly Eurocentric, so to read a novel that delves into Chinese, Russian, and other oft-neglected places in a new way is both refreshing and very exciting. It’s especially effective for the genre, since many alternate history books abandon characterization for clever moments with history or historical figures just to namedrop (or datedrop, as it were).
This is a great intro to the genre and a marvelous tale in its own right.
Daniel H. Wilson