A intoxicating and darkly immersive story of obsession, illusion and the price of freedom, from the award-winning author of The UnseeingParis, 1750. In the midst of winter, as birds fall frozen from the sky, a new maid arrives at the home of a celebrated clockmaker and his clever, unworldly daughter. But rumours are stirring that Reinhart's uncanny mechanical creations - bejewelled birds, silver spiders - are more than mere automata.
That they might defy the laws of nature, perhaps even at the expense of the living... But Madeleine is hiding a dark past, and a dangerous purpose - to discover the truth of the clockmaker's experiments and record his every move, in exchange for her own chance of freedom. Meanwhile, in the streets, children are quietly disappearing - and Madeleine comes to fear that she has stumbled upon a greater conspiracy.
One which might reach to the heart of Versailles...