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The ultimate adventure for fans of Rush and the internationally bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson Imagine if someone had written the novel of The Wall, Tommy, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when those classic albums were released. For fans of the multi-platinum band Rush, Clockwork Angels: The Novel is that project. In collaboration with the legendary rock band, acclaimed novelist Kevin J. Anderson turns the sonic journey of Rush’s new album into a full-length literary adventure. In a young man’s quest to follow his dreams, he is caught between the grandiose forces of order and chaos. He travels through a lavish and colourful world of steampunk and alchemy, with lost cities, pirates, anarchists, exotic carnivals, and a rigid Watchmaker who imposes precision on every aspect of daily life.

From Booklist

Now here’s a high-concept idea: a novel based on the new album by Rush, the popular rock band. Writer Anderson and Peart, Rush’s drummer and lyricist, have been friends for more than two decades. Anderson takes the themes of Rush’s songs and turns them into a very entertaining, elegantly written story of a boy on the cusp of manhood, living in a seemingly perfect society (thanks to “our loving Watchmaker,” who controls, well, everything). The boy discovers that some dark truths lurk just beneath his world’s perfect surface. Firmly planted in the steampunk subgenre, the book tells an epic-scale story, following young Owen Hardy as he leaves the village of his birth, travels to the legendary Crown City, and gets caught up in an adventure that shows him a world he never knew existed. Syme, who’s designed album covers for many bands, including Rush, contributes several beautiful illustrations that capture the dark undercurrent of Anderson’s story. This is a fine piece of dystopian fiction, and it will appeal to readers young and old. --David Pitt

Review

“If you are no fan of genre works, I would still very highly recommend Clockwork Angels. It stands on its own merits as a grand adventure tale woven with threads of various themes enough to keep it fresh, exciting and engaging. Ultimately, Clockwork Angels is one of the most human of stories.” ― Book Reporter

"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?" - Sci Fi Pulse

"while reading this book the songs of the album played out in my head. Now while listening to the songs, the chapters of the book play out in my head." - The Lofty Oaks

"stunning steampunk adventure ... filled with ruthless pirates, old-fashioned airships and strange lands." - Sci Fi Magazine

"...the ideology of a well-structured society that allows very little personal choice and the concept of complete freedom for the individual to do as they choose with no governing intervention are pitted against each other. This underlying theme provided much depth to the story and made it far more interesting than the simple story presented on the surface." - The World According to Mr. Flying Pig

"if you are no fan of genre works, I would still very highly recommend Clockwork Angels. It stands on its own merits as a grand adventure tale woven with threads of various themes enough to keep it fresh, exciting and engaging. Ultimately, Clockwork Angels is one of the most human of stories." - Book Reporter

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 was the drummer and lyricist of the legendary rock band Rush and the author of Ghost Rider, The Masked Rider, Traveling Music, Roadshow, Far and Away, Far and Near, and Far and Wide.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

H. Scheibmeir
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Essential book for the serious Rush fan
Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2020
Disclaimer—HUGE Rush fan, just to put that out there right out of the gate. Though I greatly prefer older Rush, I’d listened to the Clockwork Angels album some, and knew the basic gist of the album’s concept. Reading this novel however has added IMMENSELY to my... See more
Disclaimer—HUGE Rush fan, just to put that out there right out of the gate.

Though I greatly prefer older Rush, I’d listened to the Clockwork Angels album some, and knew the basic gist of the album’s concept. Reading this novel however has added IMMENSELY to my understanding and enjoyment of that music, especially with a more in depth understanding of the story behind the lyrics.
All musical associations aside, the book is a captivating and enjoyable read on its own. I see some of myself in Owen’s character, having also come from a rural area with little exposure to the bigger world “out there” and all its offerings. I loved the tale of his growth as he ventures to the destinations that fueled his youthful imagination. “Dreams transport the ones who need to get out of town...”
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Steve Wetherill
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It is almost like the authors are shouting at you
Reviewed in the United States on September 8, 2014
I''ve been a Rush fan since the ''70''s, read most of Neil Peart''s non-fiction work (which is generally excellent) and so looked forward to this. Some of the reviews on Amazon gave me pause, but I splashed out for the Kindle version. Overall I am giving it a 3/5.... See more
I''ve been a Rush fan since the ''70''s, read most of Neil Peart''s non-fiction work (which is generally excellent) and so looked forward to this. Some of the reviews on Amazon gave me pause, but I splashed out for the Kindle version.

Overall I am giving it a 3/5. The writing style seems aimed at teenagers, though it is not at all clear that this was intentional. There are some interesting ideas in here but the plot seems to jump randomly around with very little character development. This is one of those books where the writing just doesn''t flow off the page, everything seems awkwardly phrased. It is almost like the authors are shouting at you. I''m assuming Kevin J Anderson is responsible for the bulk of the actual prose, but the book reads like he is trying to explain to his Mom over the phone how to find the control panel in Windows to set her network preferences, "NOW CLICK THE START MENU, NOW MOVE THE MOUSE UP AND CLICK ON ACCESSORIES, OK NOW CLICK ON THE CONTROL PANEL ICON, NOW CLICK ON THE NETWORK SETTINGS, NOW ... ".

For me the best part of the book is the "Afterword" by Peart himself. It''s in his usual style, name dropping lots of literary figures from the past but interesting and entertaining. I did find myself wondering if he was describing the book I had just read, however.

On a final note, I found the inclusion of random Rush lyrics into the story just embarrassingly cringeworthy. Then again, I am just a working man so I''ll fly by night away from here.
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Ravi Durairaj
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Clockwork Angels was a great story about the coming of age of a teenager
Reviewed in the United States on June 20, 2018
Clockwork Angels is a great story about the coming of age of a teenager, Owen Hardy, who lived an uneventful life was driven by events to pursue his dreams to an adventurous life. His positive temperament impelled him to attempt impossible pursuits and go on a challenging... See more
Clockwork Angels is a great story about the coming of age of a teenager, Owen Hardy, who lived an uneventful life was driven by events to pursue his dreams to an adventurous life. His positive temperament impelled him to attempt impossible pursuits and go on a challenging journey. In the process, he learned priceless life lessons that helped him choose his ultimate path.
The Watchmaker’s world works so precisely like clockwork with stereotype villages where everyone has their role and their needs are taken care of, and nothing out of the ordinary takes place. In contrast, the Anarchist disrupts every form of order and he and the Wreckers are examples of a society that lives in freedom and disorder. Kevin handles both worlds very well.
Some of the life lessons Hardy learned are articulated eloquently by Kevin Anderson. Here are a couple of them: “Everything has its place, and every place has its thing,” “he followed his dreams and ran from his nightmares” and “A life without risk is a life without … life.”
Kevin’s master worldbuilding skills reach their zenith in this book in several aspects. Let me highlight this with an example of how Kevin describes a simple thing such a storm with powerful language: “That night, a storm unleashed itself upon the sea, bearing down with the sharp teeth of a hurricane… Waves crashed against the hull, tossing loose objects around the cabins. In the hold, several ropes snapped…On deck, heavy tarpaulins flapped about in the wind and downpour; sailors struggled to lash them down before crates of supplies were drenched.”
His writing is so exceptional that even his metaphors are tailor-made for the character and situation. Here are a couple of examples: “Suspended from the framework was a dazzling blue-white alchemical globe, like a captive star,” “The steam boiler gasped and coughed; it would have exploded had there been any pressure left. The deflated air sacks collapsed like a smothering blanket over the top of the vessel” and “The locomotive engine puffed, growled, and bellowed like an animal declaring its territory.”
I read Clockwork Angels after Clockwork Lives, which was superb. It is hard to say which was better. After reading Clockwork Lives, I was hungry for more of the same world, and was so glad I could read Clockwork Angels. I wish Kevin had more books in the Clockwork Universe.
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Daniel
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A bittersweet novel
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2021
I loved the integration of the song lyrics and the story in this book, each illuminating the other. I see more in each - the book and the album - with each revisit, because of this synergy. In some ways, this is not the most engrossing fantasy novel, although I’ve mostly... See more
I loved the integration of the song lyrics and the story in this book, each illuminating the other. I see more in each - the book and the album - with each revisit, because of this synergy. In some ways, this is not the most engrossing fantasy novel, although I’ve mostly read high fantasy, not steampunk, so I might not be as familiar with this genre’s conventions. But where I thought this book really shone was as a series of allegories for the life lessons the author had learned over the course of his wonderfully creative, beautiful life. I love that he set this goal and achieved it. There’s a bittersweet quality about the whole project that makes it all the more poignant, and drives the message home. The author really put his all into this, and I’m grateful for that.
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Toonces McKosh
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
There are THREE Clockwork Angels Novels - WE MISS YOU NEIL PEART
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2021
Loved how Kevin & Neil could share a concept so clearly that both saw it in their mind''s eye. Neil was able to pass in to the next life cause he knew Kevin would respect the work. Saw the last performance on the last leg of the Clockwork Angels tour. Was incredible,... See more
Loved how Kevin & Neil could share a concept so clearly that both saw it in their mind''s eye. Neil was able
to pass in to the next life cause he knew Kevin would respect the work. Saw the last performance on the last leg of the Clockwork Angels tour. Was incredible, was great to have an old friend like Kevin be there to make it fun for Neil that on the day that Neil got the news about the Inoperative Brain Cancer was the same day as Neil & Kevin completed the outline for the 2nd book, it was shortly there after they decided to make a 3rd. This is a testament to one of the last of the great songwriters of the 20th Century and The greatest at the birth of the 21st. Kevin & I sat there blubbering like babies as we comforted each other as this was Kevin''s first flight to the convention since attending Neil''s Funeral. Please folks buy this book you won''t regret it...much love & light again we miss you Neil....
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Rick Deckard
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Perfect Companion
Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2021
This book is a perfect companion for the record. I really liked the recording – it was Rush at their best, having not lost a step. However, I had no idea the depth of the story Neil had developed. I have a greater appreciation for the songs now. Some have... See more
This book is a perfect companion for the record. I really liked the recording – it was Rush at their best, having not lost a step. However, I had no idea the depth of the story Neil had developed. I have a greater appreciation for the songs now.

Some have criticized the writing. I am an avid reader and pick up on small details, such as use of a verb too often,
lack of character development, or characters acting out of character. Nothing about this writing or story bothered me. "We suspend our disbelief and we are entertained." Also, I love the tiny bits of lyrics sprinkled about. In one paragraph, Kevin Anderson writes, "exotic and strange." I recognized it immediately.

It''s been almost 12 years since the record came out, and Neil continues to amaze me. Rest in peace. We miss you.
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Greg Camp
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The annotated album
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2013
This book was written at the same time as the lyrics for the album, so there''s something of a parallel with the movie and book versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey. What Anderson''s book does is flesh out the story of the songs. As such, it''s an annotation of the album. The... See more
This book was written at the same time as the lyrics for the album, so there''s something of a parallel with the movie and book versions of 2001: A Space Odyssey. What Anderson''s book does is flesh out the story of the songs. As such, it''s an annotation of the album. The book can stand on its own, and perhaps someone who doesn''t know Rush lyrics would have a less distracting time reading, since there''s a quotation on every page, seemingly.

The theme of the book is the balance between order and chaos. This is an ancient subject to ponder, one that we continue to debate. Clockwork Angels presents this question with the feel of novels from Jules Verne''s era, though the execution of that world building isn''t as thorough as I''d have liked. Technology is presented with little explanation as to how it works or what its rules are.

But the working out of the theme is satisfying, and it was good to take time with the argument of Clockwork Angels, book or album, as an intellectual exercise, rather than as music.

Review by the author of The Willing Spirit: Book One of the Dowland Saga (Volume 1)
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C. Sims
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hard to Put Down
Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2012
First, I am a Rush fan since the mid 1980s and have never before heard of Kevin J. Anderson. I have read other Peart books and started Clockwork Angels with high expectations. After the first three chapters I told a friend that I was currently giving the book an... See more
First, I am a Rush fan since the mid 1980s and have never before heard of Kevin J. Anderson. I have read other Peart books and started Clockwork Angels with high expectations.

After the first three chapters I told a friend that I was currently giving the book an A- for the story and a C- for the writing. Anderson''s prose was 3rd grade level at best in this section of the book, and seemed very dumbed down compared to my expectations. But Anderson was weaving quite an interesting tale and I determined to finish the book in spite of the writing level.

As I continued the journey with Owen Hardy, I noticed that the writing deepened considerably and became much more readable. The plot thickened, the mental images of the Watchmaker''s Albion sprang out in fantastic 3D in my mind, and I found myself spending my vacation days mostly with my Kindle.

There is no need for me to talk specifics about the story, other than to say it was amazing and delightful. Anderson''s writing swung back and forth like a clockwork pendulum, getting quite shallow in some of Owen Hardy''s scenes, then deepening again. I would say only 1/4 of the book was on a low reading level, while the rest was much better.

Even though I am a long time Rush fan, I found the hidden lyrics intertwined in the story to be exasperating and foolish. They detracted from the flow of the story, in my opinion, and made me sigh and roll my eyes a few times.

I would definitely recommend Clockwork Angels. The book should have been published before the music. As for reading other Kevin J. Anderson titles, I would give them a try but they wouldn''t top my reading list at this point.
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Top reviews from other countries

P32B
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Awesome steampunk novel. No need to be a Rush fan to enjoy, but it''s nice if you are one.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2015
As a Rushian (Rush fan) I was intrigued by this. A fantastic idea but worried it would be cheesy and staid. At first the tone is cheesy and staid BUT perservere, which as a Rush fan I obviously would, and it opens up and grows. The album this is written from is awesome, in...See more
As a Rushian (Rush fan) I was intrigued by this. A fantastic idea but worried it would be cheesy and staid. At first the tone is cheesy and staid BUT perservere, which as a Rush fan I obviously would, and it opens up and grows. The album this is written from is awesome, in their top three works and that is an amazing feat for old rockers. It is a good source to use for this book. You don''t need to know anything at all about Rush to enjoy this. The book and the album never need to be connected but it is an amazing bonus for fans. Some of the thoughts I had of the album story were not right. As the book fleshes it all out much more the the depth is great. Highly recommended for steampunk, science fiction, fantasy fans. It is very polished and the wording is carefully chosen and contains many lines from Rush songs through the ages. When I come across the lines from songs I can hear Geddy reading the book in my head for a while which is odd. :)
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LG
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
No no no
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2016
I''ll start by saying I''m not a science fiction reader but have been a Rush fan since the 70s. I also think the album this book is based on is the band''s best since 2112. That''s saying a lot. I approached the book with a totally open mind genuinely interested in how the...See more
I''ll start by saying I''m not a science fiction reader but have been a Rush fan since the 70s. I also think the album this book is based on is the band''s best since 2112. That''s saying a lot. I approached the book with a totally open mind genuinely interested in how the album world would be expanded upon. What a massive disappointment. It seems to be written for children and is very disjointed. Whilst it''s fun looking for the not so hidden Rush lyrics, that does not make up for the weak story, style or content. I really wanted to enjoy this, but sadly didn''t. Nice idea but extremely flawed.
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Aych
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Entertaining, but lacking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 24, 2012
Clockwork Angels: The Novel is the novelization of Canadian rock band Rush''s 20th studio album, Clockwork Angels. The album itself is of a concept that made the band famous on "2112": excellent musicianship twinned with story-led lyrics, producing a wholly satisfying and...See more
Clockwork Angels: The Novel is the novelization of Canadian rock band Rush''s 20th studio album, Clockwork Angels. The album itself is of a concept that made the band famous on "2112": excellent musicianship twinned with story-led lyrics, producing a wholly satisfying and engaging musical experience that I thoroughly recommend. And while the book here presents itself as a competent side to the main dish that is the album, as a standalone product it is found wanting. Owen Hardy, and indeed most of the other characters (with the exception of the Watchmaker and the Anarchist) are gravely underdeveloped, and in truth it is hard to care what happens to any but the aforementioned exceptions. That both of these characters are then left in a disappointing cliffhanger of uncertainty over their fates means that the overall ending of the book also left me dripping with apathy. The story itself also seems to have been rushed through, and although the author is restricted by the parameters of the album, the parts of the story that stray from Peart''s vision and plug the gaps feel like a wasted opportunity. The story jumps from point-to-point, and while each destination is eagerly anticipated, upon arrival you are left very much to feel as though the words on the page really only need one thing; to be replaced by the song that inspired them. However, I would like to say that I did enjoy the book. Upon reflection, it may not have been as accomplished but it was certainly worth a read. The book is rarely challenging, and presents a getaway into the pages that is easy to follow. With a small application of imagination and empathy, it was possible to bring the story to life and surprisingly, I found my enjoyment of the album was greatly increased as the imagery the book paints comes to the fore when listening. In conclusion: The album is a must-have for rock fans, one of Rush''s best in many years, perhaps since Moving Pictures. The book is an easy, entertaining read, but if you are looking for Tolkien-esque story-telling, you will be disappointed.
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failed music critic
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A great companion to an excellent album
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2015
This book ties up the story between the songs on rush'' s fantastic concept album of the same title. I''ve just finished reading this and now can''t wait to listen to the album tomorrow with a slightly better understanding of the story. This is more for fans of rush and the...See more
This book ties up the story between the songs on rush'' s fantastic concept album of the same title. I''ve just finished reading this and now can''t wait to listen to the album tomorrow with a slightly better understanding of the story. This is more for fans of rush and the said album. I can''t imagine someone reading this book and not listening to it''s source material, however if you are a fan of the music this enhances the experience but isn''t essential. It is worth it though. This is the first book I''ve read by Kevin Anderson, I''ll definitely dig deeper into his work.
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Mr. M. Ferrin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
NIcely complements the album but...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2013
First of all I have to say that having been a Rush fan for many years, I think that Clockwork Angels is the best piece of work they have produced for a long time. This book helps to flesh out the story behind the album and has some great ideas in it. However, it does seem...See more
First of all I have to say that having been a Rush fan for many years, I think that Clockwork Angels is the best piece of work they have produced for a long time. This book helps to flesh out the story behind the album and has some great ideas in it. However, it does seem to me that none of the ideas are fully developed and the characters are pretty one dimensional. I also found that the references to Rush lyrics are a little bit contrived. This is a story that could quite easily have been developed into a series of books if some of the ideas and characters had been developed a little more. It just felt to me as though I was being driven along a motorway without having the chance to stop and look at some of the more interesting sights that I caught a glimpse of as they flashed by. Entertaining - yes, but overall it left me feeling as though it could have been so much better.
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