Rating: one ill-tempered star (p54)I gave up on this boring, clanking, juddering steampunk-lite edifice of rusty cogs and leaking pipes when I read one character from MIT's first graduating class saying to another that their technological age had an engine but no engineer. (A quote from Emerson.)Ugh.I started the book with serious interest, based on some good reviews of people whose taste I trust, and on my great desire to see technology applied to problem-solving in extreme situations (the reason I read thrillers). I was wincing from the first scene, where a naked "charity scholar" swims in Boston's Charles River, then is dragooned by his buddies to crank up a rowing scull, and then there is engineered (bad pun, sorry) a confrontation with one of the men's acquaintance from Harvard. It was both too much information, and too little characterization. The utterances of the parties to this watery contretemps simply made no difference to me, I felt they were there to further some Point the author wanted to make. Anyway. Mr. Pearl and I are not a good fit. I've tried his Dante book, and foundered about 60pp in, then I read his Dickens book to about the same place. We do not seem to be made for each other. As his books are tremendously successful commercially, he won't miss my money, and as his critical reception is rapturous, he won't miss my praise.I will miss the interesting ideas all of his works to date have served rather unappealingly. Who loses? Me. Which makes me really grumpy.