The Wandering Warriors

Alan Smale and Rick Wilber. WordFire, $25.99 (220p) ISBN 978-1-68057-124-0
Smale (Clash of Eagles) and Wilber (Rambunctious) assemble a rollicking trio of time travel tales that combine rowdy historical characters and lively sports scenes. In the collaborative title novella, the Wandering Warriors baseball team takes a wrong turn in their bus and travels from 1946 Illinois to third-century Rome. The formidable, recently widowed Empress Julia Domna convinces the team to teach baseball to the gladiators of the Colosseum. Julia’s sons are each vying to become emperor, and she hopes baseball will calm their belligerent natures and keep the empire together. The historical scene setting is well done, and the descriptions of game play are both comic and gripping. In Smale’s playful story “A Trade in Serpents,” the only tale in the trio without a sports theme, an 18th-century London aristocrat suspects visiting American statesman Benjamin Franklin of sorcery, and in Wilber’s introspective “Stephen to Cora to Joe, or the Truth as I Know It,” a baseball catcher claiming to be the 19th-century writer Stephen Crane gives advice to an aging 20th-century ball player turned struggling writer. The tales are united in their whimsy and grit, making this a rousing series of adventures. Agents: (for Smale) Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Assoc.; (for Wilber) Robert G. Diforio, D4EO Literary Agency. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2020
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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