Leadenhall, London, 1754
Raised amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary Cloudesley has grown up surrounded by strange and enchanting automata. But most extraordinary of all are the things Zachary can see in other people. At the touch of a hand he perceives the secret desires, regrets and inner workings of the people he meets.
When his father, Abel, is forced to travel to Constantinople, Zachary is troubled. He can sense the betrayal and danger his father will find amongst the city’s bazaars, palaces and mosques. But Abel has no choice. He must leave London and his beloved son. Soon letters cease to arrive and whispers reach Zachary that his father has disappeared within the city’s walls.
Seven years later and on the edge of adulthood, Zachary is compelled to follow his father across Europe to Constantinople. He is determined to unravel the secrets that led to Abel’s disappearance – before time runs out for them both.