I really rather enjoyed this, an interesting concept executed with verve and some panache. Nice and pacey narrative if a bit corny but no worse for that. Mixture of Hornblower, Tom Clancy and Edgar Rice Burroughs with a splash of Patrick O'Brian too.
I received a digital review copy of The Daedalus Incident from the author which I used for this review.
For me reading a book is like a travel where I follow the characters like an invisible shadow. So I thought to write the review in form of a travel diary. The travel ticket consist of cover, some facts and the blurb.
THE TRAVEL DIARY A warm welcome to my first travel diary. The ticket promised a two time lines journey which will lead me to the planet Mars in a possible future set in the year 2132 and back to an alternate history of the 18th century set in1779. One need to be prepared for such extraordinary voyages. I took countermeasures against the possible suffer from sea, space and time travel. On the way to Mars I got a brief introduction before I met Lt. Shaila Jain member of the Joint Space Command for the first time. By the way the JSC is the security force for all EU/US space missions. She is a straightforward woman, who is neither a friend of military hierarchy nor of conventions. By first sight I knew should would cause trouble. Mars in 2132 is a raw-material supplier without atmosphere. Mining on Mars is no walk in the park and the appearance of quakes on the red planet was like the seed for riots.caused . I met some more people but I do not want to bother you with names. All in all there is group of people - miners, scientists, security, administration - with relationsbetween each other on several levels.
There was nothing extraordinary regarding the place and the people except the quakes. I decided to continue my travel on the future time line.
A blink of an eye later I switched to the 18th century time line. I looked over the shoulder of Lt. Thomas Weatherby and read a letter to his father. I was on board a sailing vessel named HMS Daedalus. I don't know if this is a coincidence but when you look back into the history of the Royal Navy, you will easily detect the launch of a 32-gun frigate named HMS Daedalus in 1780. Anyway I missed something. There was no motion of the sea. We went on deck and there I stood agape and dumbfounded. There was no water! The HMS Daedalus sailed through space! What an unforgettable moment. Sailing through space on a 18th century sailing vessel with gravity and oxygen. Unbelievable! A magic word reached my ears: ALCHEMY!! This alternate version of the 18th century bewitched me every minute again. As much as I would like to go into details I can't do that because I will not spoil the party. But it is not forbidden to lure you. I met historical persons like CENSORED, CENSORED and CENSORED. Imagine everything you know from Treasure Island, Horatio Hornblower, Francis Drake and move it from Earth to space. Islands turn into planets and space is the equivalent to the seven seas. Be part of a three dimensional sailing vessel battle. Feel the pressure of conventions and hierarchy on a HMS ship. Discover the world of Alchemy with the reluctant Alchemist Dr Finch. Follow Lt Thomas Weatherby on his adventurous travel to discover mesmerising mysteries and secrets. Accompany the former housekeeper Anne Baker on her way to burst through the 18th century rules and conventions to blossom as an anchor in case of relationship and as an eye-opener for Lt. Weatherby.
I think you can imagine which time line I preferred. But the contrast between the two story lines is like the salt in the soup. Like a pendulum the story switches between the two story lines. Wherever you are you can't wait to change the time line in order to follow what is going on in the other century. The chapter wise change give the story a certain base speed. But Michael J. Martinez delivers a lot of action on both story lines. Sometimes you feel like some waiting for his next adrenalin injection. The time between action is far beyond to be a holiday. All the character development and interaction need some time and is most welcomed.
I see the question on your your forehead: Is there a connection between the two time lines? The long answer is .... go, grab your copy of The Daedalus Incident and read it. The short answer is indeed very short and consists of the word YES. And yes, the The Daedalus Incident has a real end but it should be no problem for the author to write a sequel.
I hope my words reflect that I liked this travel a lot. Any criticism? I would not say it is criticism. I would call it more a remark. I think it is quite difficult to write a climax for a story which paced along on a high level. From my point of view there is no big difference between the story and the climax. The 18th century story line is excellent, extraordinary and vibrant. That does not mean that the future story line is bad. But two story lines like the 18th century story line would have been the cherry on the cake.
Now the time has come to reveal the last passage of my travel diary.
When I returned home from this extraordinary travel I felt very satisfied. This amazing mix of alternate history, science fiction and mystery is highly entertaining and stands out like a lighthouse in the fog of books.
With The Daedalus Incident author Michael J. Martinez satisfies an unsaid longing for books delivering an enjoyable and infatuate adventure which takes you on travel which is limited by the power of your imagination only.