The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

In 1754, renowned maker of clocks and automata Abel Cloudesley must raise his new-born son Zachary when his wife dies in childbirth.

Growing up amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary is intensely curious, ferociously intelligent, unwittingly funny and always honest – perhaps too honest. But when a fateful accident leaves six-year-old Zachary nearly blinded, Abel is convinced that the safest place for his son is in the care of his eccentric Aunt Frances and her menagerie of weird and wonderful animals.

So when a precarious job in Constantinople is offered to him, Abel has no reason to say no. A job presented to him by a politician with dubious intentions, Abel leaves his son, his workshop and London behind. The decision will change the course of his life forever.

Since his accident, Zachary is plagued by visions that reveal the hearts and minds of those around him. A gift at times and a curse at others, it is nonetheless these visions that will help him complete a journey that he was always destined to make – to travel across Europe to Constantinople and find out what happened to his father all those years ago.

With a Dickensian cast of characters that are brilliantly bonkers one moment and poignant the next, Sean Lusk’s debut will take readers on an immersive journey into the wonders of the world of Zachary Cloudesley.

© Sean Lusk 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Critics Review

  • One of the best books I’ve read this year. Atmospheric, engaging, and elegantly written, this amazing tale of a clockmaker whose son possesses unusual talents is completely unforgettable.

    Sunday Times bestselling author, Bonnie Garmus
  • Fans of eccentrically flavoured historical fiction with a touch of magic are in for a treat with this bustling Dickensian debut about a boy born with the ability to see into the minds of everyone he meets and which spans 18th-century Europe, from London to Constantinople.

  • Wild, bewitching and propulsive, Sean Lusk’s drama of prophetic visions, exotic feats of engineering, transgressive desire and familial love is one of those novels that makes you rejoice that we are a storytelling species. The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley, peopled with vivid characters and sumptuously-imagined scenery is a triumph of the imagination, of language, and of generosity.

    Liz Jensen
  • With a cast of colourful characters who are guaranteed to charm, this hugely entertaining book is full of imagination, adventure, wit and warmth.

    Anita Frank
  • ‘Flavoured with characters of Dickensian brilliance…One taste, you’ll be addicted.’

    Essie Fox

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