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Literature / The Productions Of Time

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Tempus Rerum Imperator.

The year is 1758 and England is at war. In London, evidence has come to light of the existence of a singular device - a pocket watch - rumoured to possess properties that are more to do with magic than any known science. Daniel Quare, Regulator with the secretive Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, is tasked with tracking down this sinister mechanism. But he is not alone - enemy agents are also on its trail ...


And the path Quare must follow is a dangerous one. Full of intrigue, betrayal and murder, it will lead him from a world he knows and understands to an otherwhere of demigods and dragons in which nothing is as it seems.

Time least of all.

The first volume of The Productions Of Time by Paul Witcover, called The Emperor Of All Things, was published in 2013. Thematically and stylistically, comparisons to Neal Stephenson and Susanna Clarke have been drawn.


These books provide examples of:

  • Anachronic Order: Occasionally.
  • Cats Are Magic: Master Magnus' cats have the ability to sense that there's something otherworldly - and lethal - about the clock Magnus and Quare have picked up. Sadly, the force behind the clock gets rid of them very quickly.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: The protagonist and his colleagues.
  • Genius Cripple: Master Magnus.
  • Guile Hero: Daniel Quare.
    • And Longinus even more so.
  • Heroic Bastard: Daniel Quare.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The inhabitants of the village Märchen aren't technically elves, but most of the trope still applies.
  • Meaningful Name: As Magnus explains it, 'Quare' is Latin for 'from what cause', reflecting the fact that Daniel's father is unknown.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The protagonist is a clockmaker, and the object of terror that starts off the plot is a watch.
  • The Order: The Most Secret and Exalted Order of Regulators.
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  • Phantom Thief: Grimalkin is a famed one. Regulators are also trained to be this.
  • Rule of Cool: Frankly this must be the sole reason of existence for the Stairmaster and the Personal Flotation Device.
  • Rule of Three: Grimalkin can be asked three questions, and three questions only.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Grimalkin.
  • Title Drop: Tempus Rerum Imperator - or, Time is the emperor of all things - is the motto of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. The Company places this much value on clocks because as they see it, a nation's superiority in business and battle depends directly upon its ability to measure the passing of time more accurately than its adversaries.
    • The series' title is taken from William Blake's Proverbs of Hell: "Eternity is in love with the productions of time."
  • Trickster Mentor: Master Magnus has shades of this. He's not above using his apprentices - in this case, Quare - for his own sinister and occasionally downright dangerous purposes, but behind it all he still seems to be genuinely concerned for their well-being and future.
  • Violent Glaswegian: Tom Aylesford. In two days in London he's already fought five duels.
    • Turns out he's a spy for the French who's just real keen on killing the English.
  • World of Snark: As can maybe be expected of a story set in 18th century England, nearly all the characters converse in a darkly sarcastic manner with each other while never losing the politeness common for gentleman scholars.

Example of: