The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

By Sean Lusk (Author)


Pub Date 12/5/2023

ISBN 9781454950431

Format Paperback



The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

by Sean Lusk
The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley is a sparkling historical novel of wild and wonderful mechanical automata, love in a variety of forms, and gentle themes of identity, with a cast of fabulous characters. 

In 1755, Abel Cloudesley, a London watchmaker and creator of remarkable mechanical automata, is mourning his wife, Alice, who died giving birth to their son, Zachary. Six years later, Abel is further devastated when a freak workshop accident takes Zachary’s eye. With his new eye made of gold and lapis by Abel’s soft-spoken apprentice Tom, Zachary, now with an astonishing gift of second sight, is sent to live with his eccentric Aunt Franny in the country. Abel buries himself in work until he is coerced by shadowy figures into designing a chess-playing automaton and delivering it to Constantinople to spy on the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. After meeting the Sultan, Abel is not heard from again. Years later, teenage Zachary receives a letter suggesting that his father is still alive, a prisoner of the Sultan. Zachary sets off on a perilous journey to the Levant, determined to find Abel and bring him safely home.

A BBC Between the Covers Book Club pick and London Sunday Times Historical Fiction Book of the Month, for fans of PandoraThe Essex Serpent, and The Night Circus.

Longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2023 and the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2023.
“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.”—Bonnie Garmus, New York Times bestselling author of Lessons in Chemistry

“[A] sweeping novel about a London father and son separated by the shady world of international spies and political machinations . . . . The details sparkle, the characters shine, and the settings are lush. Lusk has crafted a novel that will take you away to another place and time and also, yes, has a sweet happy ending.”—Locus

“Inventive, fantastical . . . memorable.”―London Times

"A strange, spellbinding, imaginative work of magical realism set in 1700s London and Constantinople, exploring Pinocchio-esque questions about what is real, and the many forms of love. It contains no shortage of tragedy, but always retains a charming sense of wonder. . . . The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley is enchanting."—Shelf Awareness

“Packed with intrigue, vividly drawn characters, and heart-stopping emotion, this beautifully written, ingeniously crafted debut is absolutely enthralling.”—Sunday Express

“Really transports you to a different time and place.”—Sara Cox, Radio Times

“A dashing, magical debut . . . intricately plotted, and peopled with intriguing characters and cunning clockwork.”—Daily Mail

“An original coming-of-age tale . . . enjoyable and imaginative debut.”―London Sunday Times (Historical Fiction Book of the Month)

“I just fell in love with it within the first two sentences.”—Ruth Jones, author of Love Untold -

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Sean Lusk is an award-winning short-story writer, and winner of the Manchester Fiction Prize  and the Fish Short Story Prize. He has lived in Greece, Pakistan, and Egypt, variously working as a gardener, speech writer, and diplomatic official. He now lives in the Scottish Highlands. The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley is his first novel.

Title Details

Pages 368 pages

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories US/Can

Category Fiction