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The Daedalus Incident Format Kindle
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The author braved writing those thoughts down in this book. He created a world of spacefaring 32-gun frigates and wrapped it around a fast-paced adventure story. "The Daedalus Incident" treads the borders of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. It throws in some romance, too, for good measure (it could easily have had a cover featuring a swashbuckler and a damsel in distress but, thankfully, it did not go there). Reading it felt like watching someone juggle knives while riding a unicycle on a tightrope over a flaming pit. There is always the danger of the whole thing falling apart but, incredibly, the act holds well together. I think that's how most of the excitement in "Daedalus" is generated making it so fun to read.
The author has taken great care in crafting the details of his world. He demonstrates respect for every genre he touched in the story so you soon realize he knows what he's doing. You can safely suspend your disbelief while reading this tale and enjoy the sights, sounds, and marvels of the ride knowing you won't be cheated in the end. Don't be surprised if you find yourself asking for more. Thankfully, there is promise of that.
I have to admit to being put off by the first few chapters that take place in the universe that isn't our own (you know, the one where the Americas never existed and pre-Victorian Europe discovers space travel instead). But the further on I read the more engaged I became, until finally I came to find that other universe just as, if not more, interesting because the author had succeeded in getting me to suspend my disbelief just long enough that I started to care about that somewhat odd reality with its even odder characters. I am sure this book would make a terrific movie, so long as they could get someone credible like Ridley Scott to do it (Scott did a fairly good job on his visualization of Philip Dick's android novel, after all). No doubt a lot of people are going to vehemently disagree with me. This author took a real risk with this book's story line. For me that risk paid off. My only closing comment to people who are considering reading this book is, just give it a chance. You may find yourself grateful for the author's courage in taking the leap that he does here. You might even start hoping he'll write a sequel.
And in fact this great mash up of time lines results in the collision of these two time lines in the exciting conclusion to the story.
In 1779 we have the almost "steampunk" like activity of sailing between the stars with a literal sea going ship. This is accomplished through lodestones that have been treated by an Alchemist to support the gravity and air needed by men. And by men, I mean sailors of the Royal Navy no less. Our hero is Tom Weatherby on her majesties ship Daedalus who is on a routine voyage to rout out any French ships.
Tom and the rest of the men on Daedalus are soon on a trip across the known worlds chasing a mad alchemist who is stealing the essence of the known worlds. Why he is doing this is not known. All that is known is that he must be stopped before he gets all the known worlds essences.
In our 2132 timeline on Mars our main characters are US Air Force personnel and scientists exploring Mars along with a group of rough necks mining for precious materials under the surface of Mars.
But something is wrong as there are injuries involved when several earth quakes (oops mars quakes) occur with no apparent reason. Soon both the military staff and scientists are investigating other strange occurrences.
The author is true to the mannerisms, terminology, attitudes and perspectives of each time line as we go back and forth in time. Which is outstanding as you can see the different perspectives of each group.
As you may have guessed the two time lines collide at the end of the book with an epic battle; and both groups of characters being exposed to the other's perspective.
A wonderful romp that combines both science fiction and fantasy attributes that will please both groups.
Then, suddenly, it’s chronicling the adventures of a young lieutenant in an alternate history where the colonial European powers are seizing territory on different planets in the solar system, instead of portions of North and South America.
The mechanism used to tie these two worlds together is a bit predictable, but the ride is a rollicking adventure that I enjoyed. The novel is weakened by having all the real action on one side of the divide (the future Martian miners are mostly along for the ride in this novel, and their ride is mostly to inspire the confusion and wonder that are a staple of genre sci-fi), but judging by the setup at the end — which contain the only indicators in the book that it’s opening a series; this could have been standalone with only minimal editing and reworking of a couple chapters — the action will be more equitable in the follow-ups. There are a few line editing issues (only a few; but still surprising in a properly-published novel) and the prose gets a bit dull — the price paid for trying to speak in the voice of an 18th-century “officer and gentlemen” character.
Given the opening you obviously can’t take any of the science portions too seriously, but this is a rollicking adventure that won’t leave anybody regretting the time spent on it.
Martinez employs an alternating structure within each chapter. The beginning contains a steampunk-style story of 1800-style schooners flying in space with the end of the chapter concentrating on a 22nd century mining colony on Mars. Mars has certainly been done to death, and that part of the story wasn't horribly interesting to me....until the two worlds collide. I wasn't at all sure what Martinez was up to until Page 100, and then it all melded into an interesting story.
I would urge any prospective readers to plow through and keep going. The beginning can be a bit difficult to follow given the two radically different stories...but the payoff is handsome. I'm eagerly looking forward to Martinez's next novel which I believe is set in this same universe.
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