“at some time between 1945 and 1980, Joe’s grandfather and grandmother built a bee-machine which is either a rocket ship, a mobile sculpture or a brain-melting lie detector”. Unfortunately Joe made the mistake of activating the device setting lose thousands of mechanical bees. Joe Spork, the main character, repairs antique clocks so when the device was brought to him he had no idea it was so powerful. He does have a lot of friends who help him, most were friends of his gangster father “Tommy Gun” Spork. This book has a lot of Charles Dickenish characters with names like Mr. Titwhistle, Mr. Cummerbund and Billy Friend. It has an evil mass murder The Opium Khan. There are several female geniuses, one is a scientist who builds robots and another an undercover secret agent. This book goes back and forth in time a lot and I had a hard time putting it down.