“Never trust anyone that has not brought a book with them.” Lemony Snicket
My current book is The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez (https://twitter.com/mikemartinez72). I encountered the book through Sara Megibow (https://twitter.com/SaraMegibow) who, aside from being a wonderfully available agent willing to answer questions of interested authors, is great at championing her clients’ works. Out of respect for the advice she’s offered me, I decided to check out The Daedalus Incident.
And so far? I’m thrilled that I chose this one to read. The tale follows two storylines. The first features Jain, a gritty lieutenant involved in the mining operations on Mars in the 2100’s. Martinez does a pretty great job of projecting our current world forward in terms of technology and general space exploration. The world he’s built around Lt. Jain is believable, interesting, and a tasty treat for the science fiction fan. The other story features Lt. Thomas Weatherby and his undertakings aboard the HMS Daedalus in the 18th century.
The only catch?
Some kind of alchemical advancement has drastically altered the course of history. Martinez shoves us into the action as he shows the Daedalus traveling, not through the high seas, but the Void as they round Mercury. This alternative history drags in a number of curious, historical figures that everyone that’s been to high school has heard of.
My take: This is a very solid book. I have to admit that, after reading Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, I didn’t think I’d be up for another story featuring a “proper” naval commander. Weatherby grew on me quickly though. And his side of the story is jam-packed with wonderful, imaginative science fiction / fantasy elements. The mystery behind how the world has transformed so drastically does a wonderful job of pulling us forward in the plot. The worlds we get to experience? Creative and clever. I love this side of the story and cannot wait to figure out the mystery that Martinez is leading us toward.
So what do I not like?
I have to admit that Lt. Jain’s side of the story took a while to pick up for me. There is a mystery there as well. We begin to wonder if these two worlds and histories will collide (with cleverly dropped hints by Mr. Martinez). However, Jain is one of those “tough and gritty” characters that I have a hard time attaching to as a reader. The introduction of a Bill Nye-esque character helped pull me back in. I have to admit, I’m not a huge “hard science” guy, so there are parts where I drift in and out.
I also did a lot of thinking on the ideas of “the teaser”. Martinez deftly maneuvers between the two story lines, often leaving us with somewhat climactic discoveries at the end of each chapter. I first encountered this “leading on” of the reader in The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Her chapters are done so well that you are really forced to keep going and learn more. I noticed sometimes that in Martinez’s work, I was feeling two different ways.
Half of the time: Enticed. I wanted more. I loved it. It pulled me on through the text and I was genuinely getting goosebumps over the mystery.
Half of the time: Mad. I was enjoying that section and was upset that I’d have to read a full 4 pages of something I wasn’t as interested in to wait for the revelation of what they discovered.
I guess there’s just a balance to be struck in these kinds of stories. I know that I was writing a story with multiple perspectives and I had to stop. I just didn’t have the chops for it at that point.
Mchael Martinez not only HAS the chops for it, but he has succeeded in creating a genuine, genre-bending, thrill-seeking adventure book. Go find him at your local bookstore! Or order on amazon! Or anything! Whatever you have to do to get your hands on this good read. I highly suggest reading it if you have any interest in the following things:
Some of our founding fathers
Romance / Fighting / Plundering
Until next time, happy reading!