Angelmaker – Nick Harkaway

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Fantasy is not a typical choice for me, so Angelmaker was an unusual experience. It’s true to say that the genre has changed in many ways: this was more like Artemis Fowl on speed than Lord of the Rings on a bad day. It was modern in setting and characterisation, packed full of adventure and excitement, full of improbable events and stuffed with bonkers science described in fantastic detail.

A universal doomsday machine; a 90 year old granny secret agent; the London sewers, the London gangs – the hero a 40 year old reclusive clock repairer with typically adolescent relationships – a nod to the readership possibly.

This book has everything – and more besides. What kind of imagination, what powers of determination, could lead to anything as vast and mad as this? Villains as wild as crazy dogs: cruel and heartless; Welsh and Oriental. Torture chambers filled with horrors, beautiful, independent women, sexy and powerful, a hero finally armed with his phallic Thompson machine gun, wreaking havoc and bedlam on all the powers of state authority and repression. It’s an adolescent’s dream of machinery, madness, mayhem, and revenge on all the sand-kicking bullies of all time. Brilliant!

One thing though – I won’t be reading the sequel, should there ever be one. This was a holiday read suggested by a short bearded salesman burrowing around in the Newton Abbott branch of Waterstones. He may have been around the age of 40, probably had big hairy feet – oh and I think he was called Bilbo.

The Guardian Review

Artemis Fowl – Good Reads Reviews

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