Nominated by:

Tampere City Library, Finland

Publisher of nominated edition:

Bloomsbury, UK

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Natasha Pulley    

In 1883, Thaniel Steepleton returns to his tiny flat to find a gold pocketwatch on his pillow. But he has worse fears than generous burglars; he is a telegraphist at the Home Office, which has just received a threat for what could be the largest-scale Fenian bombing in history.

When the watch saves Thaniel’s life in a blast that destroys Scotland Yard, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori – a kind, lonely immigrant who sweeps him into a new world of clockwork and music. Although Mori seems harmless at first, a chain of unexpected slips soon proves that he must be hiding something.

Meanwhile, Grace Carrow is sneaking into an Oxford library dressed as a man. A theoretical physicist, she is desperate to prove the existence of the luminiferous ether before her mother can force her to marry.

As the lives of these three characters become entwined, events spiral out of control until Thaniel is torn between loyalties, futures and opposing geniuses.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street blends historical events with dazzling flights of fancy to plunge readers into a strange and magical past, where time, destiny, genius – and a clockwork octopus – collide.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Natasha Pulley studied English Literature at Oxford University. After stints working at Waterstones as a bookseller, then at Cambridge University Press as a publishing assistant in the astronomy and maths departments, she did the Creative Writing MA at UEA. She later studied in Tokyo, where she lived on a scholarship from the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, and she is now a visiting lecturer at City University. Her first novel The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Betty Trask Prize.

Librarian’s Comments

A work of mesmerizing beauty and daring innovation. Intricate and immersive with the cogs and wheels of its narrative mechanism working wonders as in one of Keita Mori’s amazing clockwork creations featured in the book.

Related Entries