The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley

A boy, who, having lost an eye fulfills his infant promise as one who can see inside others’ minds, has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and an adventurous spirit that propels him on a quest to rescue a father unjustly imprisoned in 18th century Constantinople.

The Second Sight of Zachary Cloudesley by Sean Lusk
Union Square
Paperback | $17.99
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This is a wonderful story, a tale. Not a chronicle, a narrative, an account, but a story; a tale. Like all good tales this one has a premise that falls just outside the realm of reality but well within the borders of believability for a veteran reader of fiction. It is well told, filled with fascinating detail that enlivens and brightens the flow. There is action, travel, romance, suspense and imagination.


Abel Cloudesley is a clockmaker, at least in name. He surely does produce fine clocks which are placed in the homes of aristocrats and in government bureaus, but what he loves to do is to create automatons. Birds that flap, strut and sing; forest creatures that stalk, gnash and pounce; even some that mimic human movement and, even, thought. His work is well known and widely praised. His tragedy is that his beloved wife Alice has perished in childbirth bringing forth a son, Zachary. He is devastated but loves his son beyond reason. It is with shock we read that when the family begins to argue over what is to become of the child in the absence of a mother, the furor is halted by a high-pitched voice crying “stop”. It is the day-old infant, Zachary. He soon begins to astonish the adults with his perception, his ability to reason, and his unrelenting curiosity about everything. In addition, he speaks of events yet to come with disturbing accuracy. He is without doubt an extraordinary child, one whose prophecies come true with alarming regularity. One day he is injured in his father’s shop, losing an eye which is replaced with a lapis and gold orb which, he claims, allows him to see into others’ minds and the future. Short one eye, he sees more than anyone else. Before his teens Abel is duped into traveling to Constantinople where he is to operate a mechanical chess player and spy upon the Sultan for the British government. He is caught and imprisoned and Zach vows to rescue him. His quest provides the impetus for the plot.


Written with an eye to history, geography and architecture as well as the mechanical technology of the 18th century, this work is fascinating and compelling. A wonderful story, a thrilling tale. In the author’s notes mention is made of his study of Constantinople (Istanbul) and its history, much of which in altered form lives within these pages. It is fiction, but there is fact here, garnished with enough fantasy to maintain the reader’s interest in the outcome. A great gift idea for anyone who loves historical fiction, fantasy or adventure books.