Mainspring is set in a mythical past where the Earth rides on a brass gear around the sun. The Union Jack flies from airships over Boston, Massachusetts.

“The Mainspring of the world winds down,” the angel continued. “Only a man, created in the image of the Tetragrammaton, can set it right. Only you, Hethor.”

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But there is something wrong with the mechanical workings deep inside the planet.

Why is this on our bookshelf?

As a former blimp mechanic, I’m drawn to steampunk because of the airships, and Lake nailed that part.

Rating (5 stars)

Hethor is sent on an incredible journey that will take him around the world, as he tries to discern the nature of creation.

On the topic of airships, author Jay Lake was very technically detailed and explained how things worked. It made those parts come alive, as he described how Hethor used the chronometer to record the passage of sidereal midnight, or how the crew of Bassett moored the airship with no mast or ground crew present.

Lake’s reasearch and details were so accurate that Hethor’s training reminded me of learning to work with airships – the feeling of freedom sitting on top of the envelope, and what it’s like to crawl inside the envelope (it really DOES get that hot).

Lake’s world-building is superb, with a fine mix of plot and action scenes. You won’t believe this is Lake’s first novel.