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Escapement (Clockwork Earth) Hardcover – June 24, 2008

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Product Details

  • Series: Clockwork Earth (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765317095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765317094
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,790,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Escapement is a more ambitious, and, in many ways, a more complex book than its predecessor, Mainspring. Though both books are clever combinations of steampunk (SF elements translated to the Victorian era), alternate history, and fantasy, Lake hits his stride here, neatly balancing intriguing characters with the sort of clear, driving plot (and a few important subplots) and world building that keeps readers in the game. Lake’s star is on the rise in the science fiction and fantasy genres, and critics believe that this book is strong enough to warrant consideration for a Hugo. A cliffhanger ending almost certainly ensures another book in this remarkable cycle.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

From Booklist

Paolina Barthes, raised in a village on the Wall in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, wants to escape the small-minded confines of her elders. Thanks to a ship’s boy and the few books in town, she knows England rules much of the world and believes that there she’ll find wizards like Newton to teach her more of the world’s working. An arduous journey ensues, only to the conclusion that her genius is too great for the politics of England and the peril of secret societies wanting to harness her power. Meanwhile, the librarian Childress (from Lake’s Mainspring, 2007) is ordered aboard a ship that is attacked by the Chinese. By coincidence, she is the sole survivor and to survive takes on a high-ranking role among her captors. The other side of the Wall continues a point of contention, but fortunately for Paolina, not everyone is obsessed with power to the exclusion of all else. With its airships, submarines, world-spanning gears, and fantastic creatures, Lake’s clockwork world continues to be a fantastic place to visit. --Regina Schroeder

Customer Reviews

This is some tasty fantasy!
J. Cordes
Too many paragraphs that failed to advance the story or give us a better feel for the characters.
Gregory Tetrault
It also contains a quest that is engaging in an absolutely fascinating world.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lichter VINE VOICE on February 19, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I finished reading Jay Lake's "Escapement" this morning. I enjoyed the book, which I found to be richer and deeper than "Mainspring", the first book in Lake's Clockwork Trilogy. ("Pinion", the third book in the trilogy, is currently available in trade paperback.) I don't have time for a full review, but I do want to comment on three things that the existing reviews on appear to have gotten wrong:

1. Read "Mainspring" first. Most of the people who have reviewed "Escapement" on appear not to have read the first book in the trilogy, and I think that has affected both their understanding of and their emotional engagement with the second book. While it is possible to read and mostly understand "Escapement" on its own, the first book eases the reader into the spirit of Lake's work in a way that the second does not.

2. Don't expect a religious tract. This trilogy is a "what if?" story: What if the world was so obviously designed and built by an intelligent hand that nobody could deny the fact? Lake's answer is, essentially, that religion isn't about objective facts, it's about what people make of the objective facts, and even really big, obvious, objective facts can produce many distinct (and possibly warring) subjective interpretations. It's more difficult to say what Lake wants us to make of the magical (and possibly Divine) events that occur, such as the appearance of Archangel Gabriel to young Hethor in "Mainspring", but I (a) hope that he provides some clarification in "Pinion" and (b) think that he's mainly just playing around with his own authorial role as God the Creator of this fictional world.

3. Don't expect pure steampunk, pure clockpunk, or pure anything.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Cordes on September 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Escapement is a great book. All of the good parts of its predecessor Mainspring are present with none of the bad parts. Because of Mainspring, I picked up and started Escapement with caution and low expectations. Now that I'm done, I can't wait for the next book in the series. This is some tasty fantasy!

My only complaint would be that we only got a glimpse of the many exciting and interesting locations and people our protagonists encounter. Hopefully Jay is planning to make this a long series with many installments, because he's created a world that deserves and supports many more adventures.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lefty on August 28, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was at least 1/3rd too long. The story of Ms. Childress had very little to do with the resolution and while her adventures were mildly interesting they added nothing. Traveling around the world in a submarine might be interesting reading, but not here. The story of the girl who made the gleam was interesting while she was on the Wall, but her trip to Europe and Egypt could have been improved. I never had the feeling that the author had been to Europe or Egypt. The author enjoys throwing out inferences to shadow groups and conspiracies, but you have to do more than glimpse someone once in awhile having an obscure conversation. The story of the sailor was just repetitious, fight an overwhelming number of people, get wounded, wander on, fight an overwhelming number of people.
As for the resolution, it was rushed and unsatisfying. You never had the feeling that any of the three parts were in danger, so there was little suspense. I have spent hundreds of pages with these people and you want more than a page saying that she wandered off with a character who is minor if not completely unknown.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dave RN on February 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought this book hoping for a good science fiction read. Unfortunately Escapement wasn't what I was looking for. The story begins well but quickly fizzles out. I like the small community Jay Lake creates in the first few pages. This is largely what kept me reading on. I labored through this book in hopes that the story would get more interesting but it never did. If the story focused on the girl in the village and her journey, I would have enjoyed it more. But the author wastes alot of time on other characters that, in the end, don't matter. One of the storylines didn't have much of an impact on what I felt was the main storyline. Hundreds of pages were wasted on a woman sailing around on a Chinese submarine. Maybe her part of the story has more of an impact in the next book (which I will NOT read). Hundreds more pages were wasted on floating ships (the cover looks way cooler than the story actually is) and a giant drill.
I do have to say that Jay Lake is a good writer. He is very descriptive but not overly so. But this story is long and boring. It just wasn't that interesting to me. I doubt that I will every read another book by Jay Lake.
I finished this book as a matter of principle. If I buy a book, I will read it. From now on though, I will do some research first.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DC on August 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Escapement is a better book than its predecessor Mainspring because it explores its mechanically driven universe, evidenced by planets and moons driven by gears and clockworks, through the fascinating viewpoints of the three main characters with a richness of vision that is quite compelling.

Lake manages to create a world with mystery and mechanism, while exploring theology and human behavior, that promises the thrill of discovery that great sci-fi/fantasy delivers.

However, like Mainspring, which follows one character across a fascinating landscape only to descend into mysticism by its conclusion, Escapement offers loads of moral dilemmas and action by its ending without any more understanding of the fundamental workings of the universe that kept us reading all along.

Knowing that there must be another book to follow would have helped me to understand Escapement's place as a middle book in a trilogy. Now that you know, you may be able to enjoy even more than I did.
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More About the Author

Jay Lake lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works on numerous writing and editing projects. His 2010 books are _Pinion_ from Tor Books, _The Baby Killers_ from PS Publishing, and _The Sky That Wraps_ from Subterranean Press. His short fiction appears regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. Jay can be reached through his Web site at

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