Imagine two universes: one where British sailing ships in 1798 are able to leave Earth using the wonders of alchemy to sail between the planets and another where astronauts in the year 2134 hitch rides on fusion-powered spaceships to explore the moons of Saturn. Got it? Now toss in an ancient alien warlord attempting to open a doorway to conquer both worlds and you’ve got the general idea of Michael J. Martinez’s follow-up novel, The Enceladus Crisis, in his Daedalus series of novels.
If you’ve not yet read The Daedalus Incident, I highly recommend doing so first. It’s not required, but it’ll take a dozen chapters or more of Enceladus for you to pick up all the major details from the first book. Plus, you’ll be missing out on some outstandingly cool ship-to-ship cannon battles in and around the solar system. And a Big Bad who is determined to get a foothold in our world (well, our 2132 world). You can read my original review of Daedalus here if you need convincing.
Martinez has created not one, but two unique worlds, where the heroes of each must fight together to save their worlds, and readers will have a hard time deciding which universe would be more fun to visit. A returning cast of characters include the former Lieutenant Thomas Weatherby, now a full Captain and commanding his own ship, the HMS Fortitude. Dr. Andrew Finch, alchemist extraordinaire, has left the Royal Navy for some time in Egypt, but his paths are destined to cross once again with Capt. Weatherby along with a few other favorite characters from whose lives are quite a bit different in 1798 (almost twenty years after the events of Daedalus.)
In a parallel universe, the year is 2134 (only two years after the events of Daedalus — time runs at different speeds, obviously) and Lt. Cmdr Shaila Jain is on the Joint Space Command Ship Armstrong on Earth’s first mission to visit the planet’s moons. Some political intrigue is on the horizon when a Chinese ship is detected racing the Armstrong to Saturn, and back on Earth some strange radiation readings have Brigadier General Maria Diaz, USAF heading out on a hunt to find their origin. What she finds will have a long-lasting effect in both universes as well as with the crews of both ships en route to Saturn.
Martinez delivers again — wooden sailing ships battling it out in space, Earth astronauts discovering an ancient alien temple on one of Saturn’s moons, and an evil alien warlord preparing a takeover of two worlds. Add in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, undead French soldiers, illegal particle accelerators on Mars and beneath the sands of Egypt, Cherenkov radiation and alchemy, Venusian jungles, and corporate espionage. Seriously, why would you NOT want to read this book?
(On a personal note, I was saddened to read about the loss of a valiant Fortitude crew member, fifth Lt. James Floyd Kellogg… may he rest in peace. I jokingly made a comment in my review of Daedalus about Mr. Martinez killing JFK off with a noble death… I’d like to think he went down with a musket in each hand, defending his Captain’s honor…)
The Enceladus Crisis will be released on May 6, 2014 — that means you’ve got a week to grab a copy of The Daedalus Incident and finish it. This isn’t steampunk, okay? This is something new and unique and completely entertaining. Hard science fiction in one corner and Alchemy in the other. And the best part is when the worlds and characters come together (in both books)… you’re in for a wild ride.
Note: I’d like to thank Michael J. Martinez for providing an advanced copy to review.