Thursday, December 20, 2018

James Review -- The Alexander Inheritance

This week I decided to review Ring of Fire: The Alexander Inheritance by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, and Paula Goodlett. 

The story begins shortly the cruise ship Queen of the Sea, Tug Reliance, and Barge 14 find themselves warped to the year 321 BC along with a small part of the port they were in. While fuel and water are minor problems, food will quickly become a crisis, so the ships set out for Alexandria, after consulting with an expert on the period who was traveling on board the cruise ship. They find themselves a few months after the death of Alexander the Great when the civil wars that tore apart his empire are in their early stages.

At Alexandria, the ships manage to negotiate for food but eventually find themselves under attack by an Egyptian, officially rogue, fleet. Having anticipated such attacks, the Queen of the Sea has been manufacturing weapons and armed itself with rapid fire steam cannons that easily repel the attack. However during the battle, Reliance, which hasn’t been refitted with weapons yet, flees only to find itself captured by a force belonging to one of the two largest factions of Alexander’s former empire.
Taken to the port of Tyre, Queen of the Sea engineer Daq Jakobsen finds himself befriending Alexander the Great’s Widow Roxanne, who is also regnant for her son, one of two recognized heirs to the empire, and their son Alexander IV. The prisoners manage to create improvised hand grenades, killing a few of their guards, and when Queen of the Sea comes to rescue them, Roxanne and Alexander IV, along with some troops loyal to them, join the Queen of the Sea, having been held prisoner by the faction controlling Tyre. However, they weren’t warned that any of their slaves who boarded Queen of the Sea would be freed and a group of the soldiers soon launch an attempt to seize the vessel in retaliation.

After the attack is repelled, the three ships set out for Trinidad where they purchase land from the natives to establish a colony before returning to Europe where they rescue Alexander the Great’s brother Philip, who is a severely autistic mathematical savant, and his wife Eurydice, who is his regnant. But Fort Plymouth, the colony on Trinidad , finds itself under siege and efforts to determine the future of Alexander the Great's empire continue even as the regions visited by the vessels from the future swiftly begin developing technologies that weren’t developed for two thousand years in the original timeline…
I give this book 9.0 out of 10. I love the characters and there are a wide variety of interesting problems they face during the story. However, I found a few scenes, that I’m sure were meant to be humorous, not very interesting, and a few of the problems mentioned in the story were solved off screen with not nearly enough detail about the solutions and how they were reached for my tastes, while others I feel were solved too easily. I just hope this is the start of a series, something I strongly suspect, and not a standalone novel.   

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