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Download The Nine Pound Hammer: Book 1 of The Clockwork Dark Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Nine Pound Hammer: Book 1 of The Clockwork Dark Audiobook, by John Claude Bemis Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (286 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Claude Bemis Narrator: John H. Mayer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Clockwork Dark Series Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780739380772
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What if John Henry had a son?

Twelve-year-old Ray is haunted by the strangest memories of his father, whom Ray swears could speak to animals. Now an orphan, Ray jumps from a train going through the American South and falls in with a medicine show train and its stable of sideshow performers. The performers turn out to be heroes, defenders of the wild, including the son of John Henry. They are hiding the last of the mythical Swamp Sirens from an ancient evil known as the Gog. Why the Gog wants the Siren, they can’t be sure, but they know it has something to do with rebuilding a monstrous machine that John Henry gave his life destroying years before, a machine that will allow the Gog to control the will of men and spread darkness throughout the world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Tom Angleberger, author of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda:
  • A rigorous adventure set in our own country’s folkloric past, when the sons of John Henry and Little Bill fought a desperate, fantastical battle for the soul of America. A series which any self-respecting middle school book nerd would wolf down eagerly. Books Ahoy:
  • This is one of the best books I ever read! There are many twists and turns throughout the novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. Once I started I couldn't put it down until I was finished."

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherrie | 2/11/2014

    " The Nine Pound Hammer is an eclectic mix of American Folk Lore and Steampunk which adds up to a charming story. I listened to the audio CD version of this book and it was excellent. John Mayer did a great job performing the characters voices which helped add to the down home feeling of the book. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Camille | 2/6/2014

    " Loved the American folklore premise. Sort of Lionboy meets Levon Helm. Could have been because I was listening to the audiobook, but I had trouble following the storyline. Ray walks and talks to a lot of people and learns things about his missing father. Now that the characters are established the action will rev up in book 2. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hanna | 1/30/2014

    " Overall, the whole plot was interesting, but the book kind of just ended in the middle of nowhere. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/29/2014

    " Local Hillsborough author (and nice guy). The first of a YA adventure trilogy that pulls inspiration and references from American folk tales. I think people have been calling it steam-punky, that may be a stretch, but a train is heavily featured in the plot. I'll read the next one, The Wolf Tree, which came out at the end of this Summer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kevin Hodgson | 1/28/2014

    " Good promise in the premise ... but didn't quite work for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda Shostak | 1/22/2014

    " Nice young adult book set in the rural south following the Civil War. It has steampunk elements (for those who liked Scott Westerfield's Leviathan) but the real focus of the book is magic. Not Harry Potter magic, but the magic of old Appalachian folktales and southern superstition. Nice read for teen boys or girls (good strong characters of both genders). No sex, no gore, but good intrigue and action. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 1/19/2014

    " Probably a good 5-6th grade read, but a little too full of legend and fantasy for my taste. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kami Kinard | 1/5/2014

    " Original! Loved the concept and how Bemis weaves in American mythology with steampunk. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Wilmoth | 12/29/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice fantasy break. Looking forward to reading the next two books in this series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jlnpeacock | 12/15/2013

    " This is a children's book that I enjoyed tremendously. It builds on folk tales/tall tales/ and imagination. I think it will be fun to read to my children. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/13/2013

    " The American tall tale tie in was my favorite part of this book. The ensemble of heroes worked well too. The action scenes seemed a little drawn out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jinksb | 12/27/2012

    " Folklore. Trains. A bit of steampunk. What's not to like? I am very jealous that today's kid lit seems so much better than what I remember being on the children's shelves in my childhood. Looking forward to book 2! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 P_Racemosa | 10/21/2012

    " Fun unique book with a nice take on the old American songs and fables. The characters are great but the narrative is a little shallow sometimes and its a tad hard to follow the action. That said I do look forward to reading the next one as the characters and setting keep you going. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie M. | 6/20/2012

    " Excellent book using American legends, and I would give to boy or girl who loved the Percy Jackson type of books. Lots of action and adventure. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kathy | 2/12/2012

    " A book with good intentions but I just didn't enjoy it. And I have the feeling that the constant referrals to John Henry will go right over the head of the target audience of this book -- middle school readers. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alexandria Chadwick | 11/11/2011

    " At the beginning I was like oh no, this has got to be the slowest book ever. At chapter 16, I really got hooked. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eric Compean | 10/23/2011

    " started really liking it up to the end "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tabitha | 9/16/2011

    " Part of the concept is intriguing but the story was rambling and not well executed. The plot is also rather vague. I don't recommend it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Edie Parsons | 7/31/2011

    " A sophisticated story weaving together pieces of Americana and folk magic to make an enthralling adventure. Great characters who felt like family, and I loved everything about the Ramblers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 D.J. Butler | 5/21/2011

    " More Americana than the steampunk it's marketed as, this book overcomes a rambling plot and way too many adults by the sheer power of its funky American coolness, with John Henry, riverboat pirates, dueling steam trains and a medicine show. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 3/21/2011

    " Excellent book using American legends, and I would give to boy or girl who loved the Percy Jackson type of books. Lots of action and adventure. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 12/19/2010

    " I think the author could have done a better job of world building in this one. It took me too long time to understand what was going on. Plus I've listened to too many tall takes lately, so I wasn't interested in this one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 P_Racemosa | 9/4/2010

    " Fun unique book with a nice take on the old American songs and fables. The characters are great but the narrative is a little shallow sometimes and its a tad hard to follow the action. That said I do look forward to reading the next one as the characters and setting keep you going. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ed | 5/19/2010

    " Inventive, entertaining mix of American folklore and fantasy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/5/2010

    " The American tall tale tie in was my favorite part of this book. The ensemble of heroes worked well too. The action scenes seemed a little drawn out. "

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About the Author
Author John Claude Bemis

John Claude Bemis is an award-winning author, musician, and educator. His novels include The Prince Who Fell from the Sky and the Clockwork Dark trilogy: The Nine Pound Hammer, The Wolf Tree, and The White City. John was chosen as North Carolina’s Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature. Visit him online at www.JohnClaudeBemis.com.

About the Narrator

John H. Mayer is a writer, actor, and audiobook narrator. In 1973, he cowrote Radio Rocket Boy, an award-winning short film. He also has narrated dozens of audiobooks, including American Lion and The Wolf Tree, among many others.