cover image The Venusian Gambit

The Venusian Gambit

Michael J. Martinez. Skyhorse/Night Shade, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-59780-819-4

Overflowing with complexity and eloquence, the conclusion to Martinez’s Daedalus Trilogy (following The Enceladus Crisis) seamlessly blends popular elements from science fiction and fantasy, producing a work that raises the bar for both. In our high-tech near future, Maj. Gen. Maria Diaz and Lt. Cmdr. Shaila Jain are faced with the fallout from recent events on Saturn’s moon Enceladus. In the alchemistic past of a parallel dimension, Sir Thomas Weatherby and Lady Anne Baker are fighting in slightly steampunkish Napoleonic wars, in which the French have used the Egyptian Book of the Dead to raise zombie troops. Their timelines collide when minions of Althotas, a Martian trapped in a nightmarish prison of nothingness, endeavor to free him. Love and friendships are tested, mysteries and betrayals are unearthed, political games are played among both humans and aliens, an astronaut in a space suit hugs a 19th-century British admiral, and Martinez somehow makes it all work. He skillfully handles the intricacies of characterization and the many moving parts, building to the trilogy’s utterly satisfying and quite epic finale. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary Agency. (May)