The lives of three poor children intersect in a bond of friendship which promises to help each one in an unusual way. Told in third person narrative from each child's point of view, the harsh realities of late eighteenth/early nineteenth century America, are woven together with a hint of fantasy.
Giuseppe is an orphaned street busker from Italy who is forced to work for a harsh padrone who mercilessly takes the boys earnings, giving him little in return. When green violin washes up on shore, Giuseppe finds the violin offers more than charming music.
Frederick is rescued from an orphanage by a clockmaker and becomes his apprentice. With his ingenuity and determination, he builds an automaton of a fascinating clockwork man.
When Hannah's father suffers a stroke, she is forced to work as a maid in grand hotel to help her family make ends meet. She becomes the personal assistant of an elusive and fascinating guest. In the course of her work, she learns of a mysterious treasure and dreams of what it could do for her and her family.
As the children's lives come together, they discover they each hold a key that can help another. In his debut novel, Matthew Kirby delivers a strong steampunk story in beautifully written prose in which he skilfully builds the world and characters. The author also builds some interesting minor characters who, much to my disappointment, nearly disappear without warning near the end of the novel. The action of the story comes late in the novel and I would have loved to have the fantasy elements last a little longer. The recommended age is 8-14. I recommend THE CLOCKWORK THREE for the older end of the age limit as my twelve-year-old son thought it was slow, but my seventeen-year-old son loved it.
- Publisher: Scholastic
- Date published: Oct. 1, 2010
- Hardcover 392 pages
- ISBN 978-0-545-20337-1
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**Disclosure: I did NOT receive a copy of this book from the publisher or author. The book for the contest was provided by me and purchased at The King's English Bookshop, my local independent bookstore.