The Bookman (The Bookman Histories #1)
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The Bookman (The Bookman Histories #1)

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  915 ratings  ·  180 reviews
LATE EXTRA!
BOMB OUTRAGE IN LONDON!
When his beloved is killed in a terrorist atrocity committed by the sinister Bookman, young poet Orphan becomes enmeshed in a web of secrets and lies. His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of a London on the brink of revolution, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to...more
Paperback, 395 pages
Published 2010 by Angry Robot
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dan Schwent
Just minutes before a space cannon launches a probe to Mars, a terrorist called The Bookman kills poet Orphan's love in an explosion. Orphan's quest for the truth about her death takes him below the streets of London, aboard the Nautilus with Jules Verne and Captain Nemo, and to the mysterious island home of Les Lezards, the lizard men who rule the world...

Okay, now this is what all steampunk books should aspire to be! What Lavie Tidhar has done in The Bookman is simply marvelous. Most of the st...more
Michael Fierce
Sep 21, 2013 Michael Fierce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of steampunk, Jules Verne, Sherlock Holmes, Blade Runner, and nearly everyone else

When I first caught sight of this book cover, I was immediately taken in.

description

I wanted to read the synopsis but felt that if I did, there was a good chance it would spoil some of the surprises for me best left for later down the road.

So, I didn't.

It was enough for me that it was steampunk, obviously influenced by Jules Verne, had airships in it, and I'd accidentally caught wind that there were lizard men in it. *Drool*.

I did my research and from the reviews + info I found, Lavie Tidhar, sounded lik...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: A masked terrorist has brought London to its knees -- there are bombs inside books, and nobody knows which ones. On the day of the launch of the first expedition to Mars, by giant cannon, he outdoes himself with an audacious attack.

For young poet Orphan, trapped in the screaming audience, it seems his destiny is entwined with that of the shadowy terrorist, but how? His quest to uncover the truth takes him from the hidden catacombs of London on the brink of...more
Miriam
And so, not worrying about selling, not worrying about markets-- all the things I was doing with my aborted trilogy-- I began writing The Bookman.

For fun.

It would have all the things I love, I decided. Automatons and airships, poetry and magic, the underworld, and the London sewers. It would have chases and escapes! And a quest, of sort, done for love.

And so I wrote it. Like my hero, Orphan, I did it for love. And I had fun doing it…

It was the sort of book I could research by drinking in pubs. O
...more
Terry
Apr 13, 2012 Terry rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Easter egg hunters, Alan Moore, Jess Nevins
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
2.5 – 3 stars

I’m a bit torn about _The Bookman_. On the one hand it exemplifies a lot of the key elements of steampunk. One the other hand it exemplifies a lot of the key elements of steampunk. Maybe I should explain.

I’m not quite sure where I stand in regards to steampunk as a genre. In many ways it seems to me less a genre than an excuse for cosplay on the one hand and fan fiction on the other. I mean once you get rid of the goggles and corsets, the airships and gears what have you really got?...more
Brandon
May 06, 2014 Brandon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brandon by: Dan Schwent
When I was a kid, there was this TV special that combined a lot of the more famous cartoon characters at the time. The special was used as a deterrent for kids to avoid drug and alcohol use. You had the likes of Alf, the Muppets and the Ninja Turtles teaming up with Bugs Bunny and others to stop a child from going down the wrong path. Seeing this "dream team" of characters all combined on one program blew my fragile little mind.

The reason I bring this up is because Lavie Tidhar does something a...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
There are a lot of good ideas in this book, but, in a way, I think that's part of its problem. There are too many ideas, and it felt like the author just had to include them all.

Set in an alt-reality Victorian England, where Victoria, and all the royalty, are Lizards from another planet (yes, boys and girls - meet the Reptilian Overlords), we enter this Steampunkish world which has, in a way, simply too much tech. Babbage Engines and Edison recorders and Tesla wires (radios) and submarines and r...more
Natalie
Jun 04, 2011 Natalie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: steampunk fans, holmes fans, literature lovers with a sense of humour and adventure
An adventurous yet literary steampunkish tale.
Here's what other goodreads reviewers who've fallen for this book have said




. . . and I, for one,agree with 'em (mostly) Why? Because literary and historical references and persons abound, and the intricate plot continually surprises, fun stuff!

But you are going to need to take along a few things to enjoy the journey. Here's what I recommend:

An undergraduate or graduate degree in English literature or maybe just the The Oxford Companion to English L...more
Marcus
Set in an alternative version of 19th century earth, with a point of divergence to our timeline sometime in the early 16th century, The Bookman is without a doubt the most enjoyable, fascinating and captivating book I have read in a long time. It has managed to claim the throne as my favorite steampunk novel from Moorcock’s A Nomad of the Time Streams.

The Bookman is steampunk on multiple levels. Not only because of the plot and the world with its automatons, simulacra and the giant space cannon,...more
Johnny
Take authentic details from the Victorian and Edwardian Eras such as “The Turk,” the famous automaton chess player, activists like Isabella Beeton, the infamous (and apparently ubiquitous in this style of literature) Jack the Ripper, Tom Thumb of circus fame, and the works of literature by Wilde and Wordsworth, mix in ingredients as varied as Neil Gaiman’s tale of British royalty involved with Cthulhu, H. G. Wells’ Island of Doctor Moreau, Jules Vernes’ Nautilus and Mysterious Island, Stevenson’...more
Milena Benini
I should have been crazy about this book. It's a steampunk book set in Victorian London in which queen Victoria is a lizard, Moriarty is the Prime Minister, lord Byron is an automaton giving readings, and the main character -- Orphan -- is friends with an old guy called Gilgamesh. There are also whales in the Thames, and Jules Verne makes an appearance later on. Also, the London in question is a grimy place where machines produce grit and pollute the air, and a bunch of weirdoes plotting an upri...more
Stephen Winterflood

Steampunk is a genre tag that is very popular with publishers, and also apparently readers, so they love to slap it on any fantasy that is set around the Victorian period. Most of these books don’t fit the title as they don’t feature any punk aspects to them. The Bookman is a Steampunk novel in the true sense of the word as it literally features punks within its story, although this might be we suspect a wink towards said genre title.

The other aspect of punk, the underclass rebellious society is...more
Nikki
Not sure what to make of this. It reminds me of a lot of other steampunk I've read, it's fun enough as a diversion, it was an easy and a quick read... it just didn't work for me, somehow. The patchwork quilt of literary and historical references, the rather perfunctory love story, heck, the rather perfunctory main character...

There's a lot of fun to be had here, in the adventure plot and the wild sequence of ideas, but it's not something I could really take seriously, somehow. I was reminded a l...more
Tony
Jul 14, 2011 Tony rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: steampnk fans
This is yet another great release from Angry Robot Books. It was purchased for the price of 99p from Amazon UK. That is less that a cup of coffee, less even than a vote for Britain’s got “talent”. This book is so cheap I almost feel guilty.

Lavie Tidhar is an interesting person to follow on Twitter, or to read short stories by. I don’t always agree with what he says, but he is nearly always thought provoking.

This book is different from all the other Angry Robot books I have read so far. Normally...more
Gef
To put it plainly, this novel offers a smorgasbord of steampunk goodness. Zeppelins, automatons, floating islands, cannon-fired space flight, lizard people, and a countless array of literary cameos from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Oh, and somewhere in all that there is a sweeping adventure.

Orphan is a young poet, hopelessly in love with Lucy, who is set to take part in the launching ceremony of the first venture in unmanned spaceflight. But, a notorious terrorist known only as the Bookman...more
Barry Huddleston
Need a taste of some steampunk goodness? Try "The Bookman" by Lavie Tidhar.

Imagine a Victorian England with blimps dotting the sky, Automatons roaming the streets, and brushing elbows with legends from historical fact and fiction. That, and reptilian royalty, is the background for "The Bookman." The story is very much what you will find in classical heroic fiction.

Our Arthurian-like protagonist, by the name of Orphan, is propelled into the mystery while seeking revenge for the murder of his gir...more
Liviu
Just finished this novel and it's superb; a cross of steampunk/lizard invasion a la Turtledove/Victoriana with a London cca 1890-1900 where Professor Moriarty (that one) is Prime Minister at the court of the Calibanic Kings - Queen Victoria is now from the lizard race - who were discovered/revived by Amerigo Vespucci on his return voyage from "Vespucciana" (ie America) which "today" is still a land of the indigenous people with some colonists, and whom took power in England aka The Everlasting E...more
Karissa
I read the 2nd book in the Bookman Histories, Camera Obscura, last year and really enjoyed it. I was excited to go back and read the book that started it all. Unfortunately this book was just okay for me; I had trouble engaging with the characters and the story just seemed to drag on and on.

I listened to this on audiobook which I do not recommend. The narrator distinguished between voices of different characters well, but his choices for voices were often shrill and obnoxious. There were charact...more
Woodge
Jul 18, 2011 Woodge rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lizards from space
This was such an odd tale, by turns strange, chock-full of literary references, and compelling. The setting is an alternative Victorian London in which sentient lizards from a mysterious island have taken over the crown, automatons are commonplace, and the title character is a terrorist using books as bombs. The protagonist is the oddly named Orphan who loses his lover to one of the Bookman's bombs and sets off to find the elusive character. It's a strange trip filled with characters borrowed fr...more
Megan Baxter
For all the steampunk fantasy I've been recently, as well as traditional Western medieval fantasy, this was one that stood out as having its own voice, something to say about that genre, and that incorporated literature and intrigue in interesting ways. It's not a perfect book, but the voice of the author is strong, and I forgive the small faults because the overall ideas and characters are so interesting.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy an...more
Gregor Xane
Although there were plenty of cool things going on in this book (a lot of things I liked quite a bit), and plenty of action scenes, I was never truly swept up in the adventure. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because the protagonist was more of a puppet than a character with any real agency. I do understand this fit thematically (chess, pawns, etc.), but it still may have contributed to my lack of investment. Will I read the next book in the series? Perhaps.
Tracy
"I think a lot about the might-have-beens, the what-ifs. About the little places in history where one tiny, minute change can lead to a new and unimaginable future. It's like chess, so many permutations, probabilities, choices, cross-roads...I think a lot about the future, our future. And I see uncertainty.”
This quote quite captures Tidhar's approach to creating his stories (the ones I've read and the ones I've heard about). There is some major twist that takes an otherwise historical piece into...more
Chris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Proffitt
The Bookman is a steampunk/alternate history chock-full of literary characters--so full that it's surprising the book isn't overwhelmed by them. The premise: sometime in the very early 16th century, lizard-like aliens were discovered on a remote Caribbean island, and proceeded to conquer most of the western world. As the story opens, they've been ruling Great Britain for a couple of centuries, long enough that most people just accept Les Lezards as their masters. All this is background, though,...more
Beth Cato
I've been trying to read lots of steampunk books; it seems that I either love them or can't stand them. This one is rare because it falls in the middle: a well-written book that's a bit too weird for my tastes, but still enjoyable.

In this alternative Victorian England, Amerigo Vespucci discovered an Island of Caliban in the Caribbean. Intelligent lizard people there then took over, working their way into high British society and taking over the throne itself. There are many steampunk elements br...more
Lexie
The Bookman is one of those odd books that if I had seen it while browsing its very likely I would not have given it two glances. This isn't to say it wasn't interesting, but rather the cover does not immediately grab my attention (not in the way the publishers want I suspect at least) and the blurb only mildly piques my interests. To put it more bluntly, its not my usual reading material.

I have no prior experience with Tidhar, but his writing style is unique. Its just shy of being incomprehensi...more
Beth
This novel, the first of three, takes the form of an adventure story with a young male protagonist named Orphan. It breaks out a bunch of the things you’d expect from an adventure story. Aliens, explosions, doppelgangers, globe-trotting, a giant spider, pirates, airships and automatons, and weird locales all have their part to play.

Each chapter starts with an epigram from a Victorian-era writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, and the story is peopled with lots of recognizable characters, them...more
Martha
With steampunk all the rage these days, much of what is published in the genre is quite forgettable. Folks say - rightly so, I think - that the punk is missing from so many of these titles, and that may be true also of The Bookman, which treats revolutions and politics in a very lighthearted manner. But, there is substance beneath the banter and the action-driven plot is so absorbing, that this is one of the most memorable speculative novels I've read this year.

Yes, it includes the requisite ai...more
Nesa Sivagnanam
London circa 1880-1900 where Professor Moriarty is Prime Minister at the court of the Calibanic Kings/Queens - it's still Queen Victoria but she is now from the "lizard race" - who were discovered/revived by Amerigo Vespucci on his return voyage from "Vespucciana" (ie America) which "today" is still a land of the indigenous people with some colonists.

Coming to London in the 1500's, the more advanced "Les Lezards" took power in England aka The Everlasting Empire with William Shakespeare as their...more
Nighteye
Sep 30, 2013 Nighteye rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: good beginner book for Steampunk intrested
It's the first steampunk I've read and like it, the mix of automations, half human half machinelike creatures and Vernelike fiction, the thing I irritated myself on a bit where the changes of the european history that got me a bit puzzled and that Julius Verne himself showed up in the story. But overall it's a really good story about a young poet loosing his only true love in an explosion that a mystic creature called "the Bookman" arranged and then he realize that she isn't dead but a captive o...more
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Lavie Tidhar was raised on a kibbutz in Israel. He has travelled extensively since he was a teenager, living in South Africa, the UK, Laos, and the small island nation of Vanuatu.

Tidhar began publishing with a poetry collection in Hebrew in 1998, but soon moved to fiction, becoming a prolific author of short stories early in the 21st century.

Temporal Spiders, Spatial Webs won the 2003 Clarke-Bradb...more
More about Lavie Tidhar...
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“For one crazy moment he had the notion of a vanished tribe of librarians, lost in the deep underground caverns of the Bodleian, a wild and savage tribe that fed on unwary travellers.” 5 likes
“Pawns are such fascinating pieces, too...So small, almost insignificant, and yet--they can depose kings. Don't you find that interesting?” 2 likes
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