The second book in the series is set a few years after the first book, Newton’s Cannon. Adrienne de Montchevreuil and Benjamin Franklin are dealing with the results of the last book’s disaster. Ben is now the apprentice of Sir Isaac Newton and lives a sort of high life in Prague. Because Sir Isaac has turned into a hermit again Ben has to deal with the Holy Roman Emperor Karl VI, who expects quick results from his sorcerers’ in the war against the Muscovites.

After the fall of France, Adrienne and Crecy do their best to survive. Adrienne finds out more about her connection to the djinni and about the secret society of female scientists. A new major POV character is a Chocotaw Shaman Red Shoes. He is part of America’s attempt to find out what has happened to the Old World. Red Shoes, the pirate Blackbeard, a priest Cotton Mather and a cast of other minor characters sail to England.

Red Shoes brings an interesting POV to the setting’s magic. He sees the spirit world in the terms of his own world view which is somewhat different from the scientific view that Adrienne and Ben have. Also the priest Mather sees it from his own background. A clash between the shaman and the priest is inevitable.

Most of the magic in the setting works when someone can command or persuade the supernatural beings into changing the laws of nature. Red Shoes in different because he can create his own supernatural beings that he calls shadowchildren out of his own soul.

All of the major characters have depth in them and most of the minor characters are also believable. Tsar Peter the Great is a minor POV character and his flying ships are amazing! The third famous person in this book is Charles XII, King of Sweden.

Because the world has changed dramatically this is perhaps less alternate history and more fantasy.

Advertisements