This could have been called A Chip Off the Old Block since the author is the son of John Le Carré. And a tip of the hat to Nick Harkaway for not using that to gain publicity.The acorn does not fall far from the tree as they say so you might think this is all about spies, but this is one of those novels that’s impossible to attach a brief label to. An intriguing blend of steam punk, spies and gangsters, this is a complex, gritty book that developed quickly into an engaging read.Joe Spork is living among a multitude of boxes full of mechanical parts when one day he repairs a device that is going to cause lots of problems unless he can figure out what to do about it. Many interesting adventures ensue.The writing is a shade windy but excellent and the world building is outstanding. I can’t remember the last time I read a book with so many flashbacks but it adds to the strength of the unique characters. The plot occasionally gets zany without going totally off the wall.There’s action but I also liked the fact that there was introspection. Joe doesn’t want the same career path as his father and he’s forced to make tough choices. Loyalty to others is important and personal relationships play a major role.I strongly recommend this and look forward to more by this author. Despite a few flaws it still deserves 5 stars.