In 1852, when 17-year-old Katharine is sent to her family's estate to prove that her uncle is insane, she finds he is an inventor whose work creating ingenious clockwork figures supports hundreds of families, but strange occurrences soon have her doubting her own sanity.
Col Porpentine understands how society works: The elite families enjoy a comfortable life on the Upper Decks of the great juggernaut Worldshaker, and the Filthies toil Below Decks. Col's grandfather, the Supreme Commander of Worldshaker, is grooming Col as his successor. Used to keep Worldshaker moving, Filthies are like animals, unable to understand language or think for themselves. Or so Col believes before he meets Riff.
The Whitechapel neighborhood of Victorian London has fallen under the control of a pair of mechanical "gods" and sits behind an impenetrable wall. Once an Uprising failed to break the tyranny of the Boiler Men, but now another resistance movement is growing--this one with a secret weapon that might free them or destroy the city.
London in the middle of the 19th century suffers from a plague of dog-faced men, thought by some to be werewolves; in addition, a strange apparition bearing a resemblance to the horrific mythical creature known as Spring-Heeled Jack rampages through the city, savagely attacking young women.
Moon, "a conjuror by profession" whose act has fallen on hard times, has cracked some of the city's most notorious murders. Now, he's leading the investigation into a shadowy religious group aiming to overtake London and do away with its oppressive, bourgeois tendencies.
Enter a world in between time, where children have played so long it's almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world anew.
The great traction city london is on the move again. It has been lying low, skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, as its great mountain of metal lumbers along in hot pursuit of its quarry, the sinister plans it has harbored for years can finally start to unfold behind its soaring walls.
Mainspring is the story of a young clockmaker's apprentice, who is visited by the Archangel Gabriel. He is told that he must take the Key Perilous and rewind the Mainspring of the Earth. It is running down, and disaster to the planet will ensue if it's not rewound.
It is the cusp of World War I, and all the European powers are arming up. The Austro-Hungarians and Germans have their Clankers, steam-driven iron machines loaded with guns and ammunition. The British Darwinists employ fabricated animals as their weaponry.
Incarceron is a prison so vast that it contains not only cells, but also metal forests, dilapidated cities, and vast wilderness. Finn, a seventeen-year-old prisoner, has no memory of his childhood and is sure that he came from Outside Incarceron. Very few prisoners believe that there is an Outside, however, which makes escape seem impossible.