In this steampunk fairy tale set in an alternate world, things are not always what they seem. Ludwig is a lonely boy who is shocked to discover that his father, Mandrake, whom he trusts with all his heart, has been deceiving him for years. Far from being the good-hearted scientist Ludwig admires, Mandrake instead has been busy creating an army of HELOTs, sinister machines that duplicate themselves and do the bidding of their master in order to wage a brutal war. First Ludwig takes refuge with a traveling circus; then he sails with adventurers and pirates and entertains foreign royalty. Ultimately his quest leads to a rebellion against his father, the deranged Mandrake, and the evil HELOTs so that peace may be brought to his country.
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