Joe Spork - alternately known throughout the novel as Joshua Joe Spork, Spork the Clock, and Crazy Joe Spork - is an horologist. A hapless horologist, to be all alliterative about it. He makes and fixes clocks. Not many would take him to be the son of a London's most infamous gangster.
Edie Banister is a slight, silvery-haired spinster. An octogenarian with a blind pug dog at her side, not many would take her for a lethally trained secret agent who throughout her life has waged war, across countries and continents, with a single evil villain.
Shem Shem Tsien is that evil villain.
With the threads of their pasts and the threads of their presents, Nick Harkaway weaves these three individuals together along with a colorful cast of supporting characters into a sprawling, unputdownable adventure riddled with both Bond-like intrigue and wry humor.
Read this book.