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The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk


The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review – Magic

Synopsis from Goodreads: In 1754, renowned maker of clocks and automata Abel Cloudesley must raise his new-born son Zachary when his wife dies in childbirth.

Growing up amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary is intensely curious, ferociously intelligent, unwittingly funny and always honest – perhaps too honest. But when a fateful accident leaves six-year-old Zachary nearly blinded, Abel is convinced that the safest place for his son is in the care of his eccentric Aunt Frances and her menagerie of weird and wonderful animals.

So when a precarious job in Constantinople is offered to him, Abel has no reason to say no. A job presented to him by a politician with dubious intentions, Abel leaves his son, his workshop and London behind. The decision will change the course of his life forever.

Since his accident, Zachary is plagued by visions that reveal the hearts and minds of those around him. A gift at times and a curse at others, it is nonetheless these visions that will help him complete a journey that he was always destined to make – to travel across Europe to Constantinople and find out what happened to his father all those years ago.

With a Dickensian cast of characters that are brilliantly bonkers one moment and poignant the next, Sean Lusk’s debut will take readers on an immersive journey into the wonders of the world of Zachary Cloudesley.

My Thoughts: First of look at that cover is that not a thing of beauty?

This reminded me of The Watcher in the Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (a YA book by one of my favourite authors) this was definitely a good thing.

I loved the descriptions of Abel’s work, of the wet nurse Mrs Morley and her daughter Leonara and who could forget eccentric Aunt Frances and her unusual home and ideas. Outside of this circle of characters we encounter Tom and Samuels both men who are not what they seem to be (although in very different ways) and various others who flit in and out of the narrative but all who feel like they belong there.

The real show stealers for me are the Automata and I loved reading the descriptions of them, how they work and how they are built I only wish I had one although definitely a small harmless one like a ladybird.

I appreciated the descriptions of politics at the time especially the insight into Anglo-Ottoman relations during the period of the seven years war. This background was vital to events in the novel and was well researched and conveyed in a way that didn’t detract from the narrative.

Overall this was a magical read and a great first novel I look forward to reading more from Sean Lusk

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who love historical fiction and have an interest in the Levant and in particular trading in automata and clockworks. Anyone who enjoys Carlos Ruiz Zafon works and anyone who needs some magic in their life right now.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. The cover is just stunning!


    July 2, 2022

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