First edition.
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New York : Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2017]
309 pages ; 25 cm
"In the rugged landscape of eastern Oregon, a young scientist named June uncovers an exquisite artifact--a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll whose existence seems to validate her obsession with a harrowing story she was told by her grandfather many years earlier. The mechanical doll, June believes, is proof of a living race of automatons that walk undetected among us to this day. Ingeniously hidden inside the ancient doll is a lost message, addressed to the court of Peter the Great, czar of Russia. Russia, 1725: Peter and Elena, two human-like mechanical beings, are brought to life under the watchful guise of Peter the Great. Their struggle to serve in the court of the czar while blending in, and to survive amid those who fear and wish to annihilate them, will take Peter and Elena across Russia, Europe, and, ultimately, across the centuries to modern day."-- Provided by publisher.
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Fic Wil
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  Library Journal Review

June travels the world seeking rare antique automatons. Her interest in such objects was fixed from an early age when her Russian grandfather told her a story of seeing a man on a World War II battlefield and then gave her a relic from that encounter, which seems to be a piece of intricate clockwork. When her employers hear about the artifact, June's life is in jeopardy. She soon learns that there are clockworkmen and -women, known as avtomat, who live among us. One such clockworkman calling himself Peter offers to assist her. In alternating chapters, readers learn Peter's history, from his awakening in the court of the tsar to his realization that he has a greater purpose, which June is uniquely placed to help him achieve. In short chapters, each ending on moments of tension, Wilson (Robopocalypse) keeps readers engaged, and even if the origins of the avtomat and their goals could have been explored more, many readers will be happy to settle into the momentum. VERDICT A well-crafted summer read. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]-MM © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

While the idea of a hidden history of sentient clockwork beings may be intriguing, Wilson's execution is inconsistent and sometimes self-contradictory. Narration alternates between a present-day anthropologist named June and a magically empowered automaton named Peter, who begins his tale in 1709 Moscow. June's field of study is mechanical antiquities, which is pretty convenient, since a relic that came into her possession through coincidence is about to drop her in the middle of the hidden civil war between sentient machines. The story is challenging to sink into, with very short chapters jumping back and forth in time and place in a way that is meant to be complementary but comes across as jarring. The novel is further hampered by main characters who are flat and lacking in personality, a homogeneous cast, weak coincidences, and lackluster heroics. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The latest novel from the author of Robopocalypse (2011) reveals the existence of an ancient group (almost a race) of mechanical beings who have lived among humans for millennia. The avtomat the name is based on the Russian word for automaton can pass for humans, and they will do anything to keep their existence a secret, but they have one rather serious problem: they do not know how they were created, nor do they know how to recharge their power source. When anthropologist June Stefanov makes a startling discovery (a mechanical doll containing something that has never before been seen by human eyes), she's thrust into the middle of a deadly war between opposing avtomat factions. Brilliantly conceived and executed, the novel is at least as hypnotically compelling as Robopocalypse and its sequel, Robogenesis (2014), and it's written with an elegance we haven't seen from the author until now. This is science fiction at its best thoughtful, challenging, beautifully written, and astonishing.--Pitt, David Copyright 2017 Booklist
An ingenious new thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of human-like machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries, written by the New York Times bestselling author of Robopocalypse . <br> <br> Present day: When a young anthropologist specializing in ancient technology uncovers a terrible secret concealed in the workings of a three-hundred-year-old mechanical doll, she is thrown into a hidden world that lurks just under the surface of our own. With her career and her life at stake, June Stefanov will ally with a remarkable traveler who exposes her to a reality she never imagined, as they embark on an around-the-world adventure and discover breathtaking secrets of the past...<br> <br> Russia, 1725: In the depths of the Kremlin, the tsar's loyal mechanician brings to life two astonishingly humanlike mechanical beings. Peter and Elena are a brother and sister fallen out of time, possessed with uncanny power, and destined to serve great empires. Struggling to blend into pre-Victorian society, they are pulled into a legendary war that has raged for centuries.<br> <br> The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves past and present, exploring a race of beings designed to live by ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning. As June plunges deeper into their world, her choices will ultimately determine their survival or extermination. Richly-imagined and heart-pounding, Daniel H. Wilson's novel expertly draws on his robotics and science background, combining exquisitely drawn characters with visionary technology--and riveting action.
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