A stand-alone science fiction/ super villain comedy.

Publication year: 2012
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible
Narrator: Scott Aiello
Running Time: 7 hrs and 21 minutes

Mollusk is from Neptune which means that he’s not a humanoid. He needs an exoskeleton to move around but he’s a genius, like many of his species. Unfortunately, he bores easily. His hobbies include inventing new technology and conquering worlds. He conquered Terra with mind control but ended up tinkering with their problems until he realized that his presence brought more harm than good to the poor planet. Then, he stepped down as the Warlord of Terra but the mind controlled Terrans stills practically worship him. Naturally, he has a lot of enemies outside of Terra.

But to his surprise, one of Mollusk’s enemies wants to put him into a protective custody because assassins are after him. That enemy is Zala who is a commander in the Venusian guard and she has sworn to bring Mollusk to justice. However, now she’s been appointed as a bodyguard to Mollusk. Mollusk has no intention of staying put and waiting for others to find out what is going on. So, after surviving an attack, he does the reasonable thing and bribes the attacking mercenaries. However, they don’t know the customer but can point Mollusk and Zala to the right direction. The chase will take the unlikely duo through many exotic places on Terra, such as Atlantis and Dinosaur Island.

The book is set in an alternate, comic book like world where every planet in the system has sentient life, such as Venusians, Saturnites, and Neptunians. Even the Moon has it’s own habitants. Terra has the mole people in addition to the Terra sapiens. All of them have spacefaring technology and other high-level tech. Atlantis is also above water and is famous for their mercenaries. There are also tantalizing hints about earlier alternate history where DaVinci knew the secrets of space travel and the Eiffel tower is a weapon against space invaders.

Mollusk is arrogant and convinced of his intellectual superiority. However, he learns form his mistakes and is always eager to learn something new. He can’t resist new technology. He’s fun and a funny narrator. Zala is the opposite. She’s the arch type of a honorable warrior but she’s also very set in her ways and not open to new ideas. She follows orders rigidly. She and Mollusk have a few fun discussions about honor and other things. Both of them are fun characters but my favorite was Snog, Mollusk’s pet ultrapede, a fierce cybernetically enhanced giant centipede. She’s a great warrior but just as affectionate with Mollusk as any dog.

The plot has two basic levels. In addition to Mollusk following clues to the person who is trying to kill him, there are flashback to his history; how he took over Terra and what he did during his reign.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m going to try another of Martinez’s books soon.