cover image The Rising

The Rising

Ian Tregillis. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-0-316-24801-3

Tregillis’s splendid sequel to The Mechanical is a vivid alternate history tale filled with action sequences, fascinating characters, and great worldbuilding. Jax, a Clakker (clockwork automaton) who has gained free will, is now hobbled and on the run, hoping to find the possibly mythical land ruled by a Clakker known as Queen Mab. Its rumored location is deep in the French Canadian wilderness. Meanwhile, exiled French spymaster Berenice escapes the Dutch and becomes a fugitive, and Hugo Longchamp, the foul-mouthed guard captain in Marseilles-in-the-West in tiny New France (located in what we call Canada), prepares for the inevitable attack by the Dutch and their army of enslaved Clakkers. As their adventures intersect, these unlikely heroes work to find a way to free Clakkers from their magical obligations and to save what remains of France (in Europe) from the Dutch Empire. Tregillis falters a tad with an ending that can be seen from a mile away (and serves as a cliffhanger to set up the sequel), but the novel until then is engrossing, with plenty of mid-story twists, and it’s well worth the ride. Agent: Kay McCauley, Pimlico Agency. (Dec.)