Tor, Mar 30 2010, $26.99
Paolina Barthes the sorceress has caused havoc upsetting the God given gears of the northern hemisphere. Rival ambitious groups The Silent Order and the White Birds pursue her to gain control of her “free will” magic that each believes will allow them to become the absolute authority in the north. Paolina flees southward with plans to do the impossible of crossing over The Equatorial Wall that God constructed to keep earth rotating through heaven
On the other side of the Great Wall that God built is The Southern Empire whose mystics gear for the coming of Paolina. They know what she has done to the clockwork precision balance in the north and want to prevent her heresy wrecking their society as granted to them by God as their right to rule. These mystics do not idly await the arrival of the destroyer, but instead go after Paolina’s beloved Boaz the brass man and Childress the Mask librarian who travel in a Chinese sub.
The final tale in the Clockwork Earth saga (see Escapement and Mainspring) is a terrific climax to a strong thought provoking thriller. Jay Lake magically mixes his big metaphysical themes with a deep cast starring in an electrifying fast-paced story line. Readers will fully appreciate Pinion as Mr. Lake takes the audience on a profound philosophical comparison of religion and magic vs. science; especially free will vs. pre-determinism and subjection. With two prime subplots filled with action, Paolina still holds the novel together as the heretic beginning a revolution in thought similar perhaps to the Renaissance or more so the transformation from the divine rights of kings to the Age of Reason. This is great finish, but newcomers need to read the previous entries first or be lost in the precision of Clockwork Earth.