The Nine Pound Hammer (The Clockwork Dark #1)

The Nine Pound Hammer (The Clockwork Dark #1)
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Release Date
August 25, 2009
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What if the Legend of John Henry were more than just a story? Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, who Ray swears could speak to animals. On a quest to find out what happened to him, Ray falls in with a band of young sideshow performers traveling through the South in a rickety old train. For the first time in years, Ray feels at home. But something strange is going on. From a locked train car, Ray hears hypnotic singing. And the performers themselves—the strong man, the fire-eater, the blind sharpshooter…their talents seem almost magical. Ray investigates and discovers that the old stories about John Henry and Johnny Appleseed are true in ways he never would have dreamed, that an ancient evil these characters fought is rising again, and that Ray himself may have a place in new stories only now being written. In his debut novel, John Claude Bemis draws upon the rich history of America’s tall tales to create a fresh and exciting middle-grade fantasy adventure.

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A great American fantasy
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Reader reviewed by Alan Gratz

In the first book in Bemis Clockwork Dark series, a kind of
folklore Jedi called Ramblers once walked the country, righting wrongs.
But the Ramblers were taken down one by one, defeated by an evil
abomination known only as the Gog. Now a new group of young
heroesincluding a girl with a magic hand that can lead her through any
maze, a boy with the size and strength of John Henry, and their leader,
a boy with a special connection to the earthmust do what their more
experienced parents and mentors couldnt do. Filled with steamboat
pirates, medicine shows, swamp sirens, and mechanical monsters, The Nine Pound Hammer is a steam-driven American fantasy with one foot in myth and the other in adventure.

The second book in the series, The Wolf Tree, is due out in August 2010.

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