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The Emperor of All Things

(Daniel Quare #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Tempus Rerum Imperator: Time, Emperor of All Things.

The year is 1758. England is at war, embroiled in a globe-spanning conflict that stretches from her North American colonies to Europe and beyond. And now, after more than two years of military and diplomatic setbacks, the country itself is at risk. Across the Channel, the French prepare for an invasion - an invasion
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 14th 2013 by Bantam Press
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Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the book: ‘1758. England is embroiled in a globe-spanning conflict that stretches from her North American colonies to Europe and beyond. Across the Channel, the French prepare for an invasion - an invasion rumored to be led by none other than Bonnie Prince Charlie. It seems the map of Europe is about to be redrawn. Yet behind these dramatic scenes, another war is raging - a war that will determine not just the fate of nations but of humanity itself...

Daniel Quare is a journeyman in an
Milo (BOK)
Read the Original Review:

“The Emperor of All Things is one of the most fun reads I’ve had so far in 2013. Very brilliant.” ~The Founding Fields

It’s not often I get to read a Steampunk novel but when I do I usually find them very enjoyable. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman remains my favourite YA work of fiction to date, and both Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith and The Great Game by Lavie Tidhar have been strong reads. I was very intrigued by the
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review is from And Then I Read A Book (

Welcome to 1758, a tumultuous time in English history, a time of war and invasion fears. Also a time of reason and Enlightenment, as knowledge blossomed. And a time of magic, the unexplained, fearsome dragons and treacherous clockmakers. Hang on, something's not quite right there, this is not the 1758 I've read about in history books. In The Emperor of All Things time is taking a different turn.

We begin in an
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
There is a good idea for a story hidden somewhere in this book, if only it wasn't so badly done. Roughly two thirds of the book is back story, and when in the last 3rd things start to actually happen, the books cuts out. I know he is writing a sequel, but you need to have some form of ending for your first volume.

I find that the author repeats himself throughout the book a hell of a lot. using the same memes and often the same description over and over. Why the male characters had to
Graham Crawford
Apr 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This would have to take the prize for one of the worst written books I've read in a while. There is a half decent story in here, but it's probably better suited to being a graphic novel or a CG heavy fantasy film as most of this text is devoted to scene descriptions and dialogue.

OOOH the dialogue!!! This is hilariously bad - It sounds like something by a ren faire ham - or out of the mouth of an all too earnest reveler at a steam punk cosplay convention. It's so packed with fake Brit idioms I
For a thorough review check Mark's (from sffworld) below

I do not disagree with the presentation of the book as it's fairly accurate, just that for me it did not work so well for two reasons - to start with we are dropped into a comedic situation typical of the 19th century "swashbuckler" novels except that here we are supposed to take it seriously and it simply lacks the "panache" for that; later when the novel becomes more "fantastic" and it transforms
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
4/10: Far too descriptive. You can skip paragraphs and still know what is going on (which is what I did for the last half of it). An ending that wasn't an ending.

Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
3.5 timely starz because this freaky book surely has some merits but then again, sadly, the idea is better than the execution.

I do not mind freakishness in books, but this one was a sort of dragging freak that took a really long time to gain momentum. (view spoiler) it had a certain degree of predictability, not very bothersome, but then again for most of the time one had no idea what on earth was happening or why we should
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who would have thought that the life of a clockmaker could be so exciting! Possibly the most original adventure I have been on in a long time.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Quare was a well respected watch maker who lived in England from the mid-seventeenth to early eighteenth century. His timepieces still sell at auctions today and were ground breaking when made.

In this book the author, Paul Witcover, has turned this unassuming horologist into a swash buckling version of his real life self. Now he works as a regulator, or spy, for the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, a trade guild based in the City of London, both in the story and in real life, although
Okay, I tried to rate this three stars and somehow it came out four. I'm going to take that as a sign since I was actually torn between the two. I really wish there were half stars like on Flixster, because I would prefer a 3.5.

I liked the book overall, but there were too many faults for me to completely get behind a four star rating, especially when I compare it to the last book I read that I gave four to: The Black Guard. Now that book made me relish reading for the first time in a long time.

Craig Slater
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a fine timepiece, this story is intricate and elaborate, exceptional and precise.

It is unique and engrossing. Incredible and inspired.

It really is a hell of an achievement, and more than that it is a instantly compelling, immensely enjoyable read.

Set in 1758 London (mainly), in a world where England is locked in a war with France. In a world where military superiority could hinge of who has the finest timepiece and can manage their troops more accurately. There’s a hint of steam punk, a
William Freedman
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Witcover locates some undervalued real estate with this novel. While most historical fantasy writers are comfortable with the Victorian era, Witcover takes us on a trip to the more interesting (to me at least) epoch of the Enlightenment. (Let's face it. Steampunk today is the sleeper car on a train that pulled out of the station 25 years ago.)

I don't want to throw any spoilers into this review, so I'll leave it purposefully vague. The characters are well drawn, but still capable of
Kris Saknussemm
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paul Witcover is a writing colleague and close friend of mine whose work I very much admire. I first became acquainted with him when he was an editor in the Time Warner matrix. I found his editorial remarks to be some of the clearest and sharpest, and yet also the most subtle, I've encountered in my writing career. This discipline and depth of perception informs his own writing, and I found this latest work of his to be a very fine read, which takes some familiar devices and gives them new spin ...more
Waterproof underwear a must.

A complete opposite to the book I read before this one (Throne of the Crescent Moon). That began well and died, this begins very weakly in cliché hell, to the point where I was almost considering taking it back to the Library. Happily I persevered, and we bound on into a quite bonkers and bewildering tale of time, theology, gods and umm adult stuff. It is all very familiar in some ways, and perhaps it may all fall apart in the next book, but I am enjoying the ride for
Lee Tempest
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Not too bad. It tends to veer into Narnia-territory, with clocks (Clockpunk?) and the Enlightenment thrown in, echoing Crowley's view on Scientific Illuminism, written in a style reminiscent of Arthur Conan Doyle or even Mary Shelley, which may have been because Witcover wanted the novel to stay true to the era it was written in. Unfortunately, the styling tends to bog doen the pacing, but patience will soon reap the rewards. I would've given this 4 and a half, but the Rating system wouldn't ...more
This is a pretty good story, and the world Witcover has created is very imaginative, with some excellent concepts. Unfortunately, the verbosity of the book leaves you feeling tired with it all, rather than enthralled. If it had been a hundred or so pages shorter, it would've been something really special.

The ending was interesting, however, and it raised my rating to three rather than two stars. I might read the sequel but I'm certainly not in a rush to do so.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror-fantasy
This wasn't the book I thought it would be from the steam-punky cover & blurb. Not that I didn't like it, I did, it was just different. There are steam-punk elements but there's also a faerie fantasy section in the middle. There are some great in-jokes scattered throughout the prose too, an underground tunnel/moving carriage system is envisioned, christened 'the internet' :) There is a sequel in the works which I will definitely be reading too.
George Guven
I was really excited for this one, but it wasn't as good as I hoped. The story line was good, but the writing style was far too wordy and overly descriptive that things took way too long to happen and when there was action, it didn't feel like action because it was all described in too much detail. It made the story boring.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Really enjoyed this one. Need a new steampunk fantasy to be absorbed in? This would be that one you're searching for.

The world building and use of mythology and fantasy within this book was outstanding, and combining that with the remarkable prose makes this a standout. It is magical and imaginative. Looking forward to the sequel very much.
May 19, 2014 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Giving up on page 53 - too florid, too melodramatic, and while I was going to stick around for the potential of Grimalkin, the wide-eyed "but that's impossible!" face-off exchange sucked the optimism out of that one for me. Moving on.
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant!!! Rare masterpiece! I want this guy, Witcover,in my living-room and talk with him for two days, enter in his head and live there just a bit :) Great, Great job ;)
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much looking forward to the sequel. Physics of Einstein, mythology of Kronos and the dust of Philip Pullman came to mind while reading it.
Adina Ringler
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book but the ending was a bit abrupt. I'm guessing a sequel?
Karen Braid
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just brilliant! The best fantasy I've read in a long time. I can't wait for Book 2. Please Paul let us have the next exciting book asap, a fab page-turner.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't wait for the next one!
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was initially put off by some of the reviews here but I am glad I read this book. It was an enjoyable read.
Marco Ree
rated it really liked it
Oct 14, 2016
Gareth Pottle
rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2013
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The author of Waking Beauty, Paul Witcover has also written a biography of Zora Neale Hurston and numerous short stories. He is the co-creator, with Elizabeth Hand, of the cult comic book series Anima and has served as the curator of the New York Review of Science Fiction reading series. His work has also appeared on HBO. He lives and writes in New York City.

Other books in the series

Daniel Quare (2 books)
  • The Watchman of Eternity (Daniel Quare, #2)