Peter Carey was born in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, and now lives in New York. He is the author of fourteen novels (including one for children), two volumes of short stories, and two books on travel. Amongst other prizes, Carey has won the Booker Prize twice (for Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang), the Commonwealth Writers' Prize twice (for Jack Maggs and True History of the Kelly Gang), and the Miles Franklin Literary Award three times (for Bliss, Oscar and Lucinda and Jack Maggs). He is an officer of the Order of Australia and a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Literature and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
When her lover dies suddenly, all Catherine has left is her work. In an act of compassion her manager at London's Swinburne Museum gives her a very particular project- a box of intricate clockwork parts that constitute a nineteenth-century automaton, a beautiful mechanical bird. It's an object made of equal parts magic, love, madness and science, a delight that contains the seeds of our age's downfall. Once Catherine discovers the diary of the man who commissioned it, one obsession merges into another.