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Clockwork Destiny


Clockwork Destiny

In March 2010, Rush drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart met with author Kevin J. Anderson for a lunch between friends. Over the course of that meal, Peart expressed enthusiasm for his newest Rush project --- a work that would end up being their final album, Clockwork Angels. So in love with the world he was crafting, he enlisted Anderson to be the one to expand the story into a full-fledged novel.

Together the duo would produce two books. CLOCKWORK ANGELS told the story of young Owen Hardy, who dreamed of a world beyond his little village; his encounter with the Watchmaker; and the Anarchist, who sought to bring it all down. This was followed by CLOCKWORK LIVES, a gathering of stories centered on places and characters throughout the world, as revealed by adventurer Marinda Peake. But it wasn’t quite done. There was one more story to be told, one more novel to write. Then the unimaginable happened.

On January 7, 2020, Peart died following a battle with brain cancer.

"Kevin J. Anderson should be very proud of this volume. It is a beautiful adventure. Heartbreaking and uplifting, it is a fitting goodbye to a wonderful world explored over the course of an entertaining and thoughtful trilogy."

Now, more than two years after the loss of his friend and writing partner, Anderson has delivered an extraordinary, heartfelt farewell, both to the world of the Watchmaker and to Peart. CLOCKWORK DESTINY explodes with longing, love and adventure to the far reaches of the world.

The Watchmaker is dying. All that he has known and mastered is starting to misfire, their functions breaking down. Incidents are also beginning to occur, and there are rumors of a new Anarchist rising up against his control. He calls upon Marinda to draft his biography and tell his story, and to undertake a mission for him: Find Owen Hardy and bring him to the city.

Owen has been living a contented life as a husband and grandfather alongside his beloved Francesca. Yet, as they’ve grown older, Francesca has become ill, and he spends all of his time caring for her. The traveling carnival returns, bringing the family back, and his grandson Alain is full of adventure and longing, just as Owen had been as a lad. When Marinda arrives to disturb their familial gathering, Owen is left to struggle with the options of returning to the Watchmaker for one more adventure, or staying home to care for his dear wife.

Francesca insists that he go and take Alain with him. Reluctantly he agrees, and sets out on a mission to save Albion. He and Alain will wander the world and explore Ultima Thule, the frozen lands far to the north. While attempting to sort out the Watchmaker’s life story, Marinda is also embroiled in a mission to disrupt the rise of the new anarchist group.

As with the previous installments of this incredible tale, CLOCKWORK DESTINY is filled with touches that Rush fans will spot and gain a smile from. The most obvious here is the villain, By-Tor. These are not added in needlessly, nor do they clash with the story. Anderson pulls from the vast Rush lyric library and spices up his narrative with the poetic gems that Peart crafted.

CLOCKWORK DESTINY is about just that --- an exploration of destiny and life and what it all means…and, perhaps more importantly, what it means to more than just yourself. It is an analysis of chaos and order, and how too much of either is just as likely to be for ill. And it is about how being alive is not the same as living, and that the experiences of a life are made all the more enjoyable when done so amongst those you love, or for them. We are, ultimately, our own Watchmaker AND our own Anarchist, navigating through both worlds in an effort to mete out a life worth living and remembering.

The Watchmaker declares, “Time is the true Anarchist,” and CLOCKWORK DESTINY pulls back the curtain on that truism. Not only for the characters involved in the tale, but for their creator as well. And for us.

Kevin J. Anderson should be very proud of this volume. It is a beautiful adventure. Heartbreaking and uplifting, it is a fitting goodbye to a wonderful world explored over the course of an entertaining and thoughtful trilogy. That it also doubles as an honest and emotional farewell to a friend and amazing wordsmith in his own right enriches the result to the status of sublime perfection.

Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on July 8, 2022

Clockwork Destiny
by Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2022
  • Genres: Adventure, Fiction, Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • ISBN-10: 177041651X
  • ISBN-13: 9781770416512