Clockwork Angels

Clockwork Angels

by Kevin J. Anderson

Audiobook(CD - Unabridged)

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I can’t stop thinking big…

International bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson teams up with Rush lyricist and drummer Neil Peart to expand the story set out in Clockwork Angels, the twentieth studio album by the legendary rock band.

All the journeys of this great adventure—It didn’t always feel that way

For more than two centuries, the land of Albion has been ruled by the supposedly benevolent Watchmaker, who imposes precision on every aspect of life. Young Owen Hardy from the village of Barrel Arbor dreams of seeing the big city and the breathtaking Clockwork Angels that dispense wisdom to the people, maybe even catching a glimpse of the Watchmaker himself.

I was brought up to believe…

He watches the steamliners drift by, powered by alchemical energy, as they head toward Crown City—never dreaming that he is already caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos, between the Watchmaker and his nemesis, the Anarchist.

Owen’s journeys begin at a fabulous carnival with clockwork wonders beyond his imagination, and take him aboard airships, far into the Redrock Desert to seek lost cities, through storms at sea to encounters with pirates…and give him a chance at love.

Clockwork Angels: The Novel is a remarkable, innovative story unlike any other.

The basis for this novel, Clockwork Angels: The Album by Rush, is available now at

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469228952
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 09/03/2012
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 7.12(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kevin J. Anderson is the bestselling science fiction author of over 100 novels. He has written spin-off novels for Star Wars, DC Comics, StarCraft, and The X-Files and, with Brian Herbert, is the co-author of twelve novels in the Dune universe. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series; Terra Incognita; Resurrection, Inc.; Hopscotch; and many others. He lives in Colorado. Neil Peart is the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush and the author of Ghost Rider, The Masked Rider, Traveling Music, Roadshow, and Far and Away.

Read an Excerpt


How I prayed just to get away
To carry me anywhere

He froze in shock for an instant, just enough time for a watch gear to click ahead by one tooth, to release and catch an escapement, and drive a second hand one mark forward around the circle. Owen held up the detonator he had just smashed. “No, it was someone else! I saved everyone!”

But the real Anarchist was long gone.

The Regulators took out long, black nightsticks and stalked toward him; Owen had never noticed them carrying sticks before. The crowd closed in on him, their eyes shining, energized by their worship of the Clockwork Angels and the colorful frenzy of the carnival, as well as the intoxicating fumes in the air.

Everything happened in a flash, although Owen felt enough fear to last him a lifetime. For a fleeting instant, he expected Tomio to arrive with his dashing sword and save him. Or would Tomio— Francesca’s brother—be among the foremost who wanted to tear him limb from limb?

As the mob came at him like predators, he decided against further explanations and dropped the detonator. He ran.

The Regulators shouted after him. Shrill whistles punctuated the square.

Above the growing, angry roar, Owen thought he could hear the Anarchist laughing.

In the confusion, Owen took advantage of the splashes of shadows in the night. Around the square, uniformed Regulators went on the alert, guarding all exits, standing shoulder to shoulder to prevent the fugitive’s escape. Groups of determined Blue Watch elbowed through the crowd as the mob pursued Owen on their own, wanting him punished.

And the Clockwork Angels looked down upon it all, no longer seeming benevolent; they were goddesses of vengeance now.

As people closed in, Owen knew he couldn’t get out to the open streets. He was cornered, trapped against the tall ministry buildings. Above him, strung across the stone façade of the Cathedral of the Timekeepers, was the bright fabric banner commemorating the solstice—and the dangling rope.

Thankful for his practice in the carnival, he seized the rope and scrambled up. Within moments, he had climbed halfway up the side of the building. He looked down at the angry faces of the shouting crowd; they raised their fists, cursed him, and began hurling stones, fruit, anything they could find. Owen ducked as rocks clacked against the stone blocks next to his head, and he continued to pull himself up the rope until he reached the banner, which gave him little protection. From there, he stepped onto a stone windowsill. He dug his fingers into cracks in the blocks, pulled himself along.

He had never entirely mastered his fear of heights, but now his fear of the crowd was much greater. He inched along, his toes wedged into cracks in the stone blocks, holding the fabric banner for balance, until he reached another windowsill. The thick cornerstones on the side of the building let him climb even higher, swinging up like an acrobat until he reached the rooftop. His heart beat furiously, pounding in his temples, and he felt a surge of adrenalin.

From the top of the Cathedral of the Timekeepers, he gazed down on Chronos Square and the crowd that hated him so much, so suddenly. From there, he could see the bright lights of the carnival, the tents, the game booths, the whirling rides, the high wire and trapeze—and the tiny figure of Francesca looking up at him.

He stared at her across the open distance, sure that he could see her face, imagining that her eyes met his. He saw her mouth but could not hear her words, if she said anything at all.

Turning his back, he fled across the rooftop like a footpad in the night, slid down sloping tin shingles to a gutter, and inched his way along until he reached the far corner of the building—and a dead end. This cathedral was connected to another rooftop by a set of newsgraph cables: thick, insulated black cords that appeared even more dangerous than the high wire Francesca walked. The shadowy street below looked like a deep, endless canyon.

Bells rang out like dissonant gongs from the Watchmaker’s clocktower, calling the city to arms. He could imagine the Angels themselves pointing accusatory hands in his direction. Owen had never heard such a clamor before. Uniformed Regulators flowed in from the streets and boulevards, the Red Watch, Blue Watch, even the elite Black Watch. All hunting him.

Owen stared at the newsgraph cable and knew that he had to walk it. If he could reach the other building, he could cross the rooftop, find his way inside and down the stairs, then vanish into the streets. It was the only way to escape from Chronos Square. The newsgraph cable looked no wider than a knife edge.

He had seen Francesca do it so many times without even losing her breath. He had done it himself, but had been unsuccessful more often than not, and this time he had no safety net, no one to coach him, only hard paving stones to meet him if he fell. Francesca had gestured to him, beckoning him to walk out to her across the rope, encouraging him, taunting him, until he did exactly as she wanted.

Now he placed his right foot on the flexible tension of the cable, hoping his weight would not uproot it from its anchors.

Behind him, he heard shouts accompanied by the thundering of booted feet. A group of guards must have gotten inside the ministry building and were storming up to the roof. If he didn’t get away now, they would corner him.

Owen placed his left foot in front of his right, stretched out his arms for balance—like angel wings spread out to fly. He refused to look down, refused to think. This was just walking, one step after another. He imagined Francesca smiling at him, urging him along. I would never let myself be trapped like that! He wavered but drove away the distracting thoughts, blinked his burning eyes and focused ahead, focused on nothing.

Countless times he had seen Francesca stroll along the wire as easily as he walked a street. He told himself he could do it. He swayed, gingerly lifted his right foot, and swung it in front of his left. Another step, and he was halfway across, although the gap still looked like an infinite gulf. His vision was fuzzed with black, his concentration as channeled as the view through a natural scientist’s magnifying tube. Each step brought him nearer to the other side. Another step and another.

He was walking on air. He was absolutely terrified.

He collapsed onto the other rooftop, surprised that he had crossed the entire distance. He huddled on the solid tin shingles, breathing heavily.

A door burst open on the dark cathedral rooftop behind him, and Regulators marched out, searching for him. They shouted when they caught sight of him on the opposite building.

Owen heaved himself to his feet and continued his headlong flight, although he still felt dizzy, and his knees were weak.

The clocktower bells continued to clang an alarm. All across the city, newsgraphs rattled out a notice for his capture and arrest. Someone would already be sketching his likeness based on eyewitness descriptions.

The Regulators would probably round up the carnies to interview them about him. Would any of his friends—former friends?—believe he was secretly the Anarchist? Tomio had known the real D’Angelo Misterioso, but even if the carnies insisted Owen was innocent, would anyone believe mere carnies? Owen swallowed hard, wondering what Francesca would say about him. “A foolish boy, but I never believed he was dangerous!”

With two sharp kicks, he broke open a rooftop door, pelted down the stairs, and burst out onto the street. He ran in a random direction, down one street, turning a corner and heading away from the square. He ducked through an alley and emerged onto a wide road. He wanted to go home but knew he couldn’t—Owen didn’t even remember what home was. He couldn’t rejoin the carnival or go back to Barrel Arbor. There would no longer be any routine life of picking apples in a peaceful orchard. There’d be no simple cottage, no evenings in the Tick Tock Tavern, no bland and unchallenging Lavinia at his side.

He had longed for adventure. Sometimes the Angels punish us by answering our prayers.

He had to get away, to go anywhere. His running feet carried him down to the river and the docks. Alarms rang from other clocktowers in the city, but this late at night, people so comfortable with their unwavering schedules would take a while to understand the reason for the disruption.

He made his way to the docks at the wide mouth of the Winding Pinion River. Several cargo barges were tied up at the piers, and the bustle of dockworkers loading cargo under bright coldfire lights reminded Owen of the happy day he had spent among them.

More important, though, he saw a cargo steamer ready to push off into the night. White vapors coughed out of the cylindrical smokestacks, backlit by glowing docklights. The ship’s boilers had been pumped up to high pressure, and the cargo steamer’s air horn blatted even louder than the gongs on the Watchmaker’s clocktower.

Dockworkers were removing cables as thick as Owen’s leg from dock stanchions, ready to cast off. He stared for a moment at the great ship’s beautiful lines, the hull designed to glide like a spearpoint through the Western Sea, taking everyone aboard to exotic lands. He began to run.

All but the last gangplank had been removed, and he charged toward it, using his final reserves of energy. His lungs burned and his heart pounded. “Wait! I need to get aboard.” No one could see him in the long dock shadows made by the garish coldfire lights. “Wait!”

He had dreamed of riding cargo steamers to Atlantis, of setting foot on the distant lands mentioned in his mother’s book. Poseidon, Atlantis, the Seven Cities of Gold, and places not even named. He didn’t know where this vessel was bound, but he knew he could not stay in Crown City. Alarm bells continued ringing from clocktowers.

Where would he rather be? He made up his mind—anywhere but here.

The dockworkers looked at him in surprise as he ran up the gangplank, flushed, holding his porkpie cap to his head. One burly man paused while working at an enormous knot next to the gangplank, and Owen recognized him as the one who had introduced him to pineapples. The burly man’s brow furrowed, then smoothed open with realization. “Ah, I know you!” He called up to the steamer in a thunderous voice. “Hold up, you got one more to come aboard!”

The steamer crew came out and gathered at the rail to see the cause of the commotion. Owen ran up the gangplank before he had time to think—confidence, Golson would have reminded him. The crew didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t have a story— not yet.

After all that had happened, he could not believe this was what he deserved. He thought of the Watchmaker’s supposed plan and decided he no longer believed that all this was for the best.

But he knew that they believed it. And that was his story. . . .

As he burst onto the deck and the steamer’s engines heated up to full power, the workers detached the gangplank and threw off the final docking ropes. The vessel drifted into the channel and steamed away into the night.

Heaving enormous breaths, Owen presented himself to the curious captain. Unable to bring himself to tell an outright lie, he chose his words carefully, “I’ve come from Chronos Square and the Clockwork Angels.” He sucked in a deep breath, swallowed hard. “I’m supposed to be here.”

The captain gave a brusque, accepting nod. That was all Owen needed to say.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A stunning steampunk adventure." —Sci Fi magazine (September 2012)

"A very entertaining, elegantly written story." —

"Nostalgic, weird and wonderful." —The Globe and Mail (November 2012)

"Very nicely executed and likely to appeal to younger readers." —Toronto Star (October 26, 2012)

"A mesmerizing spectacle of science fiction literature." —

"Dazzling locales, memorable characters and high adventure that will make you think long after you're done. What more can you ask from a book?" —

"A grand adventure tale woven with threads of various themes enough to keep it fresh, exciting and engaging." —

"Part pure adventure and part classical myth, the Anderson-Peart story is a fairy tale in the best sense of the word, Tolkienian and Chestertonian." —

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Clockwork Angels: The Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptionally close friend recommended this book to me after he found my obsession with Rush and I immediately went to my nearest book store and bought it. Definitely worth the trip to get it and the time to read it. CLOCKWORK ANGELS IS A MUST READ FOR ALL RUSH FANS! If you were like me, and didn't really find Clockwork Angels an appealing album to listen to at first, reading this novel will change everything. The more I read, the more I fell in love with the album, and the more I just couldn't stop listening to the songs over and over on repeat. The reading experience is definitely enhanced if you play the album along with the reading. You will definitely get a kick out of all the song references that are placed relatively well in the reading. A comic book adaptation of this novel is out too! Can't wait for that to arrive at my doorstep. All in all, I really couldn't put this book down because of how compelling the storyline is. You are in an alchemic and steampunk-y world where you are brought up to believe that all is for the best in this "perfect" universe. Definitely recommended for avid Rush fans, especially for all the song references that non-Rush fans wouldn't get a kick out of, but overall, I believe that it is acceptable to read it if you do not listen to this amazing band.
Ravenseye_3 More than 1 year ago
Clockwork Angels, which is a collaboration of long time friends Kevin J. Anderson and Rush's drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, is a story of self realization. Owen Hardy grew up believing that "everything has it's place." Owen is on the verge of becoming a man but has big dreams of seeing the world and all of the wondrous things it contains. Often guided by his heart and dreams, Owen travels to many different cities and lands realizing that nothing in life is simply black or white, and that the most important thing in life is to stay true to oneself. It is okay to be unique and to think outside the box. Great book for young men!Clockwork Angels, which is a collaboration of long time friends Kevin J. Anderson and Rush's drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, is a story of self realization. Owen Hardy grew up believing that "everything has it's place." Owen is on the verge of becoming a man but has big dreams of seeing the world and all of the wondrous things it contains. Often guided by his heart and dreams, Owen travels to many different cities and lands realizing that nothing in life is simply black or white, and that the most important thing in life is to stay true to oneself. It is okay to be unique and to think outside the box. Great book for young men!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First, let me say that I personally think that Clockwork Angels is the best of Rush's "modern/synth" era albums. Rush has always put their best foot forward when an album follows a theme ala "2112" and "Hemispheres". This new album is no exceptions. The book was a no brainer for a Rush fan, a must read as a deeper insight into the songs and story. But, beyond that, it is a compelling read cover to cover, hopefully, for non Rush fans too. I found myself eager to read on to see what would befall Owen Hardy next. The book is well written and moves you along adventure to adventure with great ease. I did feel however, that is was too short and alot of the story seems to rush you along wanting more detail of both characters and enviroments. Hate to say it, but it could have stood for a little more Stephen Kingish style writting, where details are sometimes over done. I, however, would have welcomed it in this case. What did the alleys in the city smell like, what was the captains coat made of, how many days travel between the seven cities or what was beyond them. At 260 pages it could easily have been 500 and I would have read every page enthusiastically. Second edition maybe? :o)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so engrossing I couldn't put it down. I was sad to turn the last page and spent two days contemplating the story and then decided to read it again to savor the story.
BruceD More than 1 year ago
no but If I give him enough rope he will hang himself..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A character that i see myself within, a ton of adventure, and a touch of romance. Perfect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall, I thought this was a great boom, especially for fans of the band. Unfortunately, i felt that when the character left Albion, the rest of the story felt a bit (no pun intended) rushed...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was one of the best books I have ever read!! I has no idea it involved rush or anything about the writer but this to me is about todays world.I only wish I could more books like this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For all ages im i tween i read it but mom read it to and found it facinating truly a beutiful book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a good storyline and concept but it did not exceed any expectations i had while reading it. I was disappointed in the end when it turned out that the climax was very not climactic. I definitely expected more from Peart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Analogkid60 More than 1 year ago
Rush’s concept album makes it to print Clockwork Angels is a collaboration between veteran science fiction novelist Kevin J. Anderson and Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. If you’ve heard Clockwork Angels the album, then you already have a general idea of what the story is. Nevertheless, this steam punk tale is the story of Owen Hardy, who on the eve of adulthood breaks away from his regimented life and goes on a series of (mis)adventures. While on his journey he becomes the pawn in a battle between the Watchmaker’s forces of extreme stability and the Anarchist’s wild abandon. Along the way he joins a carnival where he learns to juggle, fight, and falls in love with a beautiful acrobat. He departs the carnival after being heartbroken only to have more misadventures including a confrontation with the anarchist. I’ll leave the summary at that, no need for me to retell the story or give away the ending. Clockwork is more than the typical sci-fi yarn. There’s the aforementioned companion CD, plus the hard bound edition includes several detailed illustrations by long-time Rush album artist Hugh Syme. Syme’s artistic contributions really help convey the visual aspect to Anderson’s steam punk world. I found the references to Rush lyrics and albums throughout the work to be a fun and interesting twist. This was not only my first foray into the steam punk genre, but also the first Anderson book I’ve read. I wouldn’t have read it if I wasn’t such a huge Rush junkie. The story moves along at a good pace; it never drags and is quite emotional. You ride Owen Hardy’s emotional rollercoaster all the way; from the highs, lows and everything in between. I enjoyed it enough to consider checking out other Anderson and steam punk works. This is a must for hardcore Rush fans, especially if you are high on the new CD. Pick this up and get immersed into Anderson’s steam punk, Rush inspired world of stability versus volatility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Mr. Anderson did an excellent job of weaving past Rush lyrics into this novel. If you're a fan, you'll get it, and if not, you won't be adversely affected by them. I'm a newcomer to steampunk, but I get it, and judging by earlier Neal Peart lyrics, he is no stranger to the great imagined future, whether steam powered, or no motors at all. Very good novel
Openbooksociety_dot_com More than 1 year ago
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Autumn Owen Hardy has lived a full and orderly life, but has always dreamed of what worlds lay just beyond. He decides to tell the story of the adventures of his youth near the end of his days. It is of a magical “steampunk” world that includes the precision of Watchmakers and the maelstrom of Anarchists, pirates and fantastic carnivals. I honestly loved the way this book was written. The poetic prose leads the reader along in such a way that you actually visualize the scenes, smell the scents and feel the objects. The brilliant animations by Hugh Syme in the hardcover edition add another layer to the total experience. Rush fans will be able to recognize some of the themes that weave through the book such as the conflicting nature of order and chaos, dreams and reality as well as the ideals of youth and the practicality of experience. Clockwork Angels is a book that readers will want to slow down and spend time reading in order to fully enjoy the intricate world building and lyrical aspects of the story. It is truly an intelligent modern fairy tale… This review and more at openbooksociety dot com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book! I found it hard to put down - I plan on reading again at a slower pace. Well written and creative sci-fi adventure story. Intricately tied to the song lyrics in both obvious and subtle ways. I enjoyed the way the story line was somewhat unpredictable as it filled in the gaps between specific songs to make unified story. Even though I new the song lyrics the story seemed fresh. The main themes of stability, chaos, brainwashing, ignorance, imagination, freewill (and more) were thought provoking and can be reflected in one’s personal life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A joy from the first page to the last. As a Rush fan I expected to enjoy the book, but I didn't know I'd truly love it! The references to Rush albums and lyrics are not overdone or distracting at all, my personal favorite being the Watchmaker's dog Martin. The ending is extraordinarily moving (increased my appreciation of "The Garden" from the C.A. album) and will probably provoke a telling nod from older readers, and give younger ones some food for thought about life's ultimate "meaning." I can easily imagine non-Rush fans conceding that this is a wonderful tale, thrillingly told.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't say much without repeating what others have said in their reviews. This is a wonderful book that brings the lyrics of Rush into a steampunk world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't open Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I live at more res one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply put, outstanding! Tom Sawyer goes steam punk with a real Jules Verne, H.G. Wells feel. The vibe is straight from the classic age of science fiction. Epic self discovery novel with unique twists throughout. The philsophical side will have you pondering. Written by two men who have a deep appreciation for Science Fiction. They manage to come up with something totally unique in a genre where cliche is a real problem. This one is destined to be a classic and should not be missed.