|Nick O'Donohoe: The Gnomewrench in the Peopleworks|
Fantasy (Paperback), ISBN 0-441-00760-0
Yet the new orders reveal a weakness in the dwarves' hidden workshops. They don't understand of modern forging techniques. This knowledge would increase the production and accuracy of their work, details that could be very useful in the final years of World War II. To counter this weakness and to profit both humans and dwarves, Grady's friend Anthony (a dwarf and World War I fighter pilot) contracts to work alternate weeks at Plimstubb's furnaces to learn modern metallurgy and help Plimstubb's fill its unusual orders (such as invisibility cloaks).
But this leaves Anthony to stand alone against a bullying supervisor in a world twice his size. Neither Grady nor the girl Grady loves (Susan Rocci) can help him at Plimstubb's.
On the mundane side, and to unknown to those working at Plimstubb's, one of Grady's human customers works for the top secret Manhattan Project. The Project orders a highly specialized furnace to be used in the production of the atomic bomb.
Enter Warren Hastings, Grady's manager, who signs a dodgy deal with Klaus without the knowledge of Grady or his friends -- a deal designed to bring much grief to Plimstubb's and its people. Worse still, Warren attempts to double cross the gnomes and the gnomes' destructive magic begins a cycle of revenge. And worst of all, Grady discovers that part of Klaus' assignment also went to the Manhattan Project.
O'Donohoe leavens the tension with delicious humorous characters such as Tom Garneux -- black-marketeer, retired bootlegger and master engineer. And on the non-human side, one should always remember that flying with a gremlin may be hazardous to your health.
The author builds lovable characters brimful of flaws and graces, and leads them through a spaghetti junction of cross and double cross to a gritty climax that tests their morals and beliefs in a world wracked by loss, pain and love.
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