I’ve been pushing myself a bit harder to get reading done, feeling I had let that fall by the wayside in no small amount. What that means or why I mention it hopefully, I will have more book reviews on the website. So, let’s get a reviewing, shall we?
This is an alternate history, by the characters showing up, they change history. As I write I wonder what effects if any this story would or will have on the 1632 setting. Now my brain hurts. This is great escapist reading, meaning you escape into the book. If you take nothing else away from my ramblings? Take that, I enjoyed reading this book. A lot!
“The Alexander Inheritance” in spite of what I consider are the book’s flaws are also the books strengths. First off authors Eric Flint, Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett do an excellent job with the story and for the majority of the setting. I will admit to some bias in the setting of the books, I will also freely admit this is due to my experiences, not their writing. Let me explain.
My background includes an undergraduate degree in history, I can’t use the word ‘concentration’ in the history of Alexander the Great or the time immediately following that, but like one of the characters in the book I could assist a ship captain in figuring out who is who, especially with Wikipedia and an Encyclopedia as back up. I would not be your guy for languages, I barely can speak English as anyone knowing me can attest. I see no reason to go into writing in that same language, I do believe in my own self-deprecating way that is quite apparent.
My other issue? I've been on more than a few cruises. None to the Med, all around the Caribbean and Mexico and one to Canada. I found the crew one every single cruise I’ve been on to be above what I would call a professional, I have the upmost respect for these people and the very hard and difficult job they do dealing with a bunch of land-lubbing drunken vacationers who show with actions they are entitled to be treated like royalty for the price of a ticket. I am not all that sure the people on the cruise ship would act in the way the authors give them credit for acting. I did fully agree a LOT of the people on board would be older as they have more disposable income. The authors also did touch on briefly the need for medications for these same older passengers and had a quick post it note type of explanation for how they were dealing with it.
I do admit I also had my silly conjecture while reading the book. Why was it set on a cruise line that wasn’t Disney? If you go out and find the book, read it, I request you consider the opening scene when the cruise ship meets the first “DownTimers” Let be someone from Greece, Egypt, Carthage, Macedonia, or Rhodes. Doesn’t matter to me, now put a bunch of the cruise ship crew in costumes. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Captain America, Thor, Captain Jack Sparrow, any princess, and Stitch. Have the characters waving to the people that are pulling up to spy out the cruise ship. How might the story be told differently? I do have a warped sense of humor I admit it.
Do not get me wrong, I very much enjoyed the book, the story. I liked the time period, Alexander the Great’s empire after his death. I totally agree throwing Alexander into the mix would have been impossible, I chuckled when Roxanne, Alexander’s wife started to do comparisons to the movie; “Alexander” She said something like “Well Olympias is no Angelina Jolie and I am no Rosario Dawson and Alexander was no Colin Farrell.” I had to wonder if that meant the actors were prettier? Better words? What? The authors described Roxanne as “Very attractive” and well I doubt anyone would say Ms. Rosario Dawson wasn’t attractive.
One part that I perceived that was missed, they again glossed it over, was the problems with germs. The authors did mention “Well at least no one has smallpox” True, hopefully everyone inoculations were up to date and there weren’t any people on board that claimed that inoculations given to small children caused more serious things, so, sure we can bypass that. My question is there are no instances of the common cold? If you have been on a cruise ship, you know the crew/staff are fanatical about hand washing and someone gets sick all the time, anyway. Often not on the ship, but a day or two when they get home. People are on this ship for months, no one sneezes, not once.
I honestly didn’t sense that there were enough issues that I thought would have come up when something like this happened to a large group of people. On a cruise ship, on vacation, BAMF, suddenly time traveled back to Alexander the Great’s time. Oh, well, I guess we will make the best of it, OK, let’s all go sailing to where we know some oil is. Ok, Drill baby drill, oh look oil. We can trade for food. Oh, the natives don’t like us here in Trinidad, oh they mass attack us. We blow them away with steam cannons, OK moving on. Oh, the Macedonians want our ship, they try, we blow them away with a hand gun, we win.
I can’t say I read that the characters had anything that was a menace to them. Their Big White Ship was the biggest and the badass thing out there, I like to get a little apprehensive for characters. I didn’t see that in this particular book.
Do NOT let this be a reason not to read the book. I enjoyed the dialogue a LOT, I liked that a crewman got the cool woman by the end of the book. I enjoyed reading how they helped a special needs character. Very much enjoyed reading how the bad guys felt about what was going on. The discussion on slavery was interesting as well because it also came from not just the people that benefited from slave labor but also the slaves themselves. Not going to spoil it for you with what they said, only to say I enjoyed it.
Also, this is a “Ring of Fire” book. Which to me is a little misleading, not in a bad way, just a setting of expectations. When I read “Ring of Fire” I think of the 1632 setting, West Virginia, Europe, and those also enjoyable book. This time travel experience happens after that in our time period since they reference that it had already happened. One of the characters had read about “The Grantville Incident” I think they call it, along with a prison that also disappeared later. Yes, I am going to find the prison book if it is out there.
So! If you like the other “Ring of Fire” books you won’t be disappointed, get your hands on this book. I should mention I got my copy, AT THE LIBRARY, and am returning it today so others can enjoy this book as much as I did. It might not sound like it? I didn’t put this book down and finished it in a weekend because I was enjoying it. Having small issues with a story doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. I did want to see how the alternate history played out and who would live and who wouldn’t make it to the next book. There is going to be a next book, right oh mighty author people?