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With masterful skill, Philip Pullman blends a host of fairytale elements into a romantic and deliciously spooky fantasy. The great town clock of Glockenheim is famous for the intricate clockwork figures that come out and move when the clock strikes. Each year a clock-maker’s apprentice is appointed to create a new figure, with people coming from far and wide to admire it. This year, the honour belongs to Karl. But Karl has a shameful secret: he has not yet begun work on the clockwork piece. Meanwhile, townspeople gather in the White Horse Tavern to hear the latest story by Fritz, a novelist famed for his hair-raising tales. The gruesome story he tells that night is about their ruler, Prince Otto, who returned from a hunting expedition with his little son Florian, but with no heart: animated only by a piece of clockwork that made him lash and lash his horses ceaselessly…
Like a strange and wonderful clock, this intricate tale cleverly brings its own cogs together to recreate what happened in that little German town on a dark and long-ago night…
November 4th, 2004