Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson, from a story and lyrics by Neil Peart.
While many of the early reviews of the Clockwork Angels novelization hold it as a fine work of fiction which just happens to be based on the Rush album of the same name, I, like most other Rush fans out there, view this novelization as a rare, perhaps once in a lifetime opportunity to see the full lyrical vision of a Rush album brought to life.
Clockwork Angels tells the story of a naive young man whose dreams of adventure set him on a path which forever changes how he views the world. Along the way via his travels to various exotic locations we meet The Pedlar, The Anarchist, The Carnies (including "a goddess, with wings on her heels"), The Wreckers, and of course The Watchmaker and the Clockwork Angels, along with a few other characters not mentioned in the album. For a Rush fan who is already very familiar with the album, the novel paints the rest of the story, filling in the gaps between songs if you will, fleshing out the lyrics, and drawing the story from point A to point B.
In addition, besides drawing from and expanding upon the lyrics of the album Clockwork Angels to tell the story, author Kevin J. Anderson also liberally sprinkles the novel with lyrics taken from the vast Rush back-catalog. While at first glance this would seem to be a lovely addition to the novel, the results are mixed. Although the occasional subtle reference would bring a smile to my face, I did find that some of the references to be a tad overdone.
The novel itself is brief, clocking in at only 290 pages which includes all of Hugh Syme's original album artwork and more (one treat is a new illustration of a city wall which reads "The Watchmaker, Est. MMCXII" [I'll give you a moment while you remember your Roman numerals...]). While the novel does a fine job expanding on the album, the fast pacing of the story itself seems to have left little room for the author to build upon the relationships of the characters. This likely may have been intentional on the author's part, but this Rush fan would have liked something even more epic!