The Mechanical is a wonderful steampunk, alternate history novel that takes the reader into the dark world of spies and war and also examines issues of slavery versus free will and religion. This book can be quite dark, but it balances the horrific parts with a fascinating world and wonderful characters. “Clakkers” or mechanical men powered by alchemy to serve humans. There are several kinds, giving them specialties (for example, some are military, trained for fighting). The are faster, stronger and more durable than humans. They are intelligent and they are completely subservient and obedient to their human masters. At least usually. There are “rogue” Clakkers that have for some reason gained some level of free will, giving them the ability to act according to their own thoughts and agendas versus just following commands. These rogues are greatly feared and prompt a witch hunt level of hysteria. Imagine how easily an army of Clackers could change the course of a war as they provide a huge advantage. And that is exactly what happened when the Netherlands invented and used them close to hundreds of years before the story was set, pushing the French into exile. One of our perspectives is Bernice, is a French spymaster….