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In Vienna 1770, Baron Wolfgang von Kempelen unveils a strange and amazing invention, The Mechanical Turk, a sensational and unbeatable chess-playing automaton. But what the Habsburg court hails as the greatest invation of the century is really thing more than a brilliant illusion. The chess machine is secretly operated from inside by the Italian dwarf Tibor, a God-fearing social outcast whose chess-playing abilities and diminutive size make him the perfect accomplice in this grand hoax. Von Kempelen and his helpers tour his remarkable invention all around Europe to amaze and entertain the public, but despite many valiant attempts and close calls, one is able to beat the extraordinary chess machine. The crowds all across Europe adore the Turk, and the success of Baron von Kempelen seems assured. But when a beautiful and seductive Countess dies under mysterious circumstances in the presence of the automaton, the Mechanical Turk falls under a cloud of suspicion, and the machine and its inventor become the target of espionage, persecution, and aristocratic intrigue. What is the dark secret behind this automaton and what strange powers does it hold? From the leaden dungeons of Venice to the imperial court in Vienna, from the palaces of the Pressburg bility to the alleyways of the Jewish quarter, The Secrets of the Chess Machine is the breathtaking historical adventure, based on a true story, of a legendary invention.
Robert Lohr was born in Berlin, and grew up there and in Bremen and Santa Barbara, California. He trained as a journalist at the Berlin School of Journalism, then worked for Sat. 1 news and for the Berlin daily papers Der Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung and Taz. He then trained as a screenwriter at the German Film and Television Academy and after many years writing screenplays and plays, Robert Lohr decided to try his hand at a novel. The Secrets of the Chess Machine is his first.