After his wife’s death, clockmaker Alan Cartwright focuses all his energy on his work and his eight-year-old son, Brenton. Father and son bond by building a lifelike automaton, designed to resemble Brenton in looks and talent: The boy is an extraordinary artist. Before the automaton is finished, Brenton is run over and killed by a carriage driven by Sir William Tyndale, a decorated soldier and knight who lost his own wife and son during service in India. The accident leads to strange occurrences and an unholy obsession.
The automaton comes to life, communicating with Alan through written messages and drawings of the past and the future. Alan is convinced Brenton’s spirit possesses the machine and refuses to sell it. Sir Tyndale sees the likeness of his own dead son in the device and is determined to have it by any means.
Driven by grief and fatherly love, the two men are set on a collision course with the soul of a young boy trapped between them, and Brenton’s reasons for possessing the automaton a mystery to them both.
This book has two endings, one dark, one light.