From the book jacket: “From the dark dungeons of Venice to the imperial court in Vienna, from the palaces of the Austrian nobility to the alleyways of the Jewish quarter, The Chess Machine is the breathtaking historical adventure, based on a true story, of a legendary invention.”
I am totally digging this book. I’ve had it sitting on my shelves for a while, see I’m making an effort to read more from my stacks, and it is just the type of historical novel that I like. Rich with descriptions of sounds, smells, setting and with a cast of characters a bit outlandish yet so genuine.
Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen unveils a strange and amazing invention, the Mechanical Turk, an unbeatable chess-playing automaton but the great innovation is actually an illusion. The chess machine is operated from the inside by an Italian dwarf, Tibor.
As the automaton is described with all it’s wires and compartments and with the ultimate goal of making people believe it is a real chess player I can’t help but think of the Steampunk genre, where sophisticated machines mix with bygone eras.
I can only imagine that things won’t go as well as Baron Kempelen hopes for but I know I’m in for a good adventure with this book. Anyone read this one?
And, yep, I’m still only reading one book at a time. Don’t know how much longer this phase is going to last but it’s interesting that it’s lasted this long. I think since back in November I started reading just one book at a time.
Has anyone read this? What did you think?