What kind of present might a boy expect from a long absent grandfather? Well, in Alex’s case it’s always the same, a toy robot from somewhere abroad; his grandfather feeding Alex with his own obsession with mechanical toys. And this time, the arrival of both the toy and grandfather is the start of an adventure that takes Alex and the enigmatic old man across Europe, pursued by and pursuing a crew of sinister figures, including a girl with piercing eyes, a tall dark man with shadowy features, a squat toyshop owner, and two beefy bald heavyweights. For all of them, the prize is Alex’s birthday gift, a toy robot that has a life of its own and seems to exercise a cruel and seductive power; and which, it turns out, is itself only the means to an even more dreadful end. It’s an ingenious tale, the familiar fight and flight scenario kept interesting by the figure of grandfather, a kind of ageing James Bond, dispensing health and safety advice which he knowingly ignores; an array of menacing miniature machines equipped with whirling blades and deadly arrows; a mystery that it takes the whole book to gradually unravel, with quite a bit still unrevealed; and a properly apocalyptic Christmas finale in Prague. The book itself has had its own strange journey. By a Scottish author, it found its first publisher in the United States (it still retains occasional tale-tell American turns of phrase) and returned to these shores only after success over there. Its sequel, The Shadow Arts, is simultaneously published this month in the U.S.A.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2020-03-05 11:32:152021-05-31 11:36:12Monstrous Devices