Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Map of the Sky

by Félix J. Palma
(The Map of Time trilogy #2)

I was very excited to read Palma's follow-up to The Map of Time, one of the best books I had read in a long time. I was equally excited when I learned that these are the first two books of a "Victorian Trilogy," so there's one more book to come. If that last book is as good as its predecessors, this trilogy will be right up there with The Lord of the Rings for me as far as how much I enjoyed them. Their plots are brilliantly thought out, full of surprises, and a lot of fun to read.

As he did with The Map of Time, Palma writes The Map of the Sky in three parts. Each part is in itself an individual story, but they're interconnected in sometimes a surprising manner. Once again, the author H.G. Wells is a central character. This time, his book The War of the Worlds has recently been publishedand just like The Time Machine, it's a huge success. Its success has spawned an unauthorized sequel to be penned by a mediocre (at best) American author. That author has traveled to London in order to meet Wells, whom he believes is undoubtedly flattered with his follow-up. Wells agrees to meet for lunch with the man with the intentions of setting him straight, but is instead blindsided with an offer he can't refuse--the opportunity to see a real-life Martian and its spacecraft stored in the basement of the British Museum.

Shortly after this perception-shattering experience, Wells receives a letter from a man he never intended to hear from again, Montgomery Gillmore, the owner of Murray's Time Travel from The Map of Time. Gillmore is madly in love with a woman who agrees to marry him on one condition--he fool the world into thinking that the Martian invasion described in Wells's book is actually taking place, and he needs Wells's help in order to pull the stunt off.

Again, I hesitate to say more, because I don't want to give anything away with the book. Needless to say, Palma once again keeps you on your toes guessing what's real and what's a ruse. Is the alien in the museum basement real? Is time travel truly possible? I expect with the conclusion to the trilogy that he'll have me wondering if my childhood fantasy of being able to become invisible is a possibility as well. I can't recommend these books enough. They're a blast to read and would be enjoyed by more than just those who love science fiction.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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