1. The Bookman

When the woman he loves dies at the hands of the mysterious Bookman, young poet Orphan will do anything to bring her back – but how far will you go for love?

Enmeshed in a web of secrets and lies, with a changed England on the brink of revolution, Orphan would have to unravel the secrets of his world, all the while trying to stay alive himself. His journey would taken him from the hidden catacombs of London, through pirate-infested seas, to the mysterious island that may hold the secret to the origin not only of the shadowy Bookman, but of Orphan’s own…

A wild, exuberant steampunk adventure in the tradition of The Anubis Gates and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Bookman is a major debut from an exciting new author.


Exploding books. Pirates. Catacombs. Love. Betrayal. Chases. Escapes. Automatons. What more could you ask for? The first in a series of steampunk adventures set in an alternative 19th century.


Lavie Tidhar’s The Bookman is simply the best book I’ve read in a long time, and I read a lot of books.  If you’re worried that Steampunk has turned into a mere fashion aesthetic, then you’d better read this one.  It’s a stunningly imaginative remix of history, technology, literature, and Victorian adventure that’s impossible to put down.  The book is immensely smart and readable at the same time.  I very much hope that it’s the first of many such books.  Buy it.

– James P. Blaylock

The Bookman is a delight, crammed with gorgeous period detail, seat-of-the-pants adventure and fabulous set-pieces.
– The Guardian

That mixture or juggling act involving themes, tones and literary forms, both high and low, is the greatest feat of legerdemain by this Israeli author. In The Bookman, he essentially pulls off the impossible.


skilful, clever and highly enjoyable.


A potent and atmospheric steampunk adventure.

– Chris Wooding

highly, highly recommended.

– Fantasy Book Critic

the most enjoyable, fascinating and captivating book I have read in a long time…  an intricate work of art.

– Daily Steampunk

“A wonderfully clever world” – Fantasy Literature.

“I thought the book sounded good when I read the description online. By page 14 I knew I was in love. . . The writing is so beautiful that I would read some paragraphs over just to enjoy it again. I have never done that before in my life. Before I finished the book, I was looking forward to re-reading it. It’s the kind of book that will only get richer the more often it’s enjoyed.” – Open Book Society.

“A mesmerizing tour-de-force … an intelligent, clever book, that creates a wonderfully complex secondary world.” – Red Rook Review.

“Simply marvellous. 5/5 stars.” – Dangerous Dan’s Book Blog.

“Brilliantly written … Absolutely a classic of the steampunk and alternate history genres.” – Android Dreamer book blog.




The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)


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Audible 2012. Narrated by Jonathan Keeble. 20 hours, 50 minutes.

Buy from Audible.com

Buy from Audible.co.uk


The German edition was published by Piper Verlag in 2012, translated by Michael Koseler.

Buy it from Amazon.de

Buy it from Piper Verlag


The Bookman, Japanese edition

Buy it from Amazon Japan


5 thoughts on “1. The Bookman

  1. Lavie Shalom,
    I am reading the Bookman these days and it thrills me, first as a book, second as a wish come true, because I read An Occupation of Angels and I read Hebrew punk + several short stories (enjoyed them of course) and I knew something like the Bookman would evade your hands and brains one day.

      • Hi Lavie,

        Tell me: what’s the thing with that thumb? First in Shangri-La affair, then in The Bookman. I hope you are OK and:-) didn’t have to “pay” in any way for the gift of writing.

        I finished the book but I’m still digesting it. It gave me a hard time with that abundance of precious gestures. Some of them I didn’t know too well, so I googled and read a lot. But most of them are thrilling.

        I didn’t read yet the exceprt from the next book, but I did squint at it and I found there Mr. Wu – well, I remember a colonel Wu from Shangri-La.

        I loved the book very much, even though sometimes it felt it was too enigmatic.
        I think that only further reading in Camera Obscura will give me more accurate answers, but I might be wrong.
        Anyway it has a strong feeling of authenticity with all those gestures to base on them the plot.
        I hope it will be translated to Hebrew although I can see some problems coming, first of all – the title. Because we meet the title inside the book, somewhere, in a different way.
        Waiting for Camera Obscura!


  2. Hi, Lavie.

    I am immensely enjoying the book. It’s the first I’ve read in a long while that has actually kept me turning the pages (it’s 1:30 in the morning here and I still haven’t gone to bed). I just thought I would share that with you. I hope to see you at a book signing one day.


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