Before his scandalous personal life made headlines.
Before he crushed the French and Spanish fleets at Trafalgar.
Before he died a martyr.
Horatio Nelson, England's greatest naval hero, assumed his first command, the 12-gun brig HMS Badger, at the tender age of 20. History tells us his first voyages as captain were unremarkable. Yet in the Known Worlds, where sailing ships ply the Void and the mystic science of alchemy works wonders, Nelson's first command goes quite differently. With his brashness and emotions untempered by experience, Nelson's rash actions as captain of the Badger threaten his heroic destiny.
The Gravity of the Affair is a novella set in the Known Worlds of The Daedalus Incident, with events that tie into the novel (though both works may be enjoyed independently of one another).
I’m a father and writer living the dream in the Golden State. I’ve spent nearly 20 years as a professional writer and journalist, including stints at The Associated Press and ABCNEWS.com. After telling other people’s stories for the bulk of my career, I’m happy that I can now be telling a few of my own creation.
When not being a parent or writer, I enjoy beer and homebrewing, cooking and eating, the outdoors and travel.
After reading The Daedalus Incident , I read this novella by Martinez that takes place in the same universe. It simply provides you with a backstory to the Horatio Nelson character - a minor character - in the Daedalus Incident.
There's not anything amazing about it, it's just another glimpse into the 1779 universe of sailing ships traveling through space with the aid of alchemy. It's not necessary to read this in order to enjoy Daedalus , which is much stronger than this.
This is a novella set in Martinez's Daedalus series, a mix of science fiction and historical fantasy. This work is completely set in the historical fantasy side, depicting Horatio Nelson on trial for a battle gone very wrong. This is a British Empire where alchemically-powered frigates fly through space. I love how Martinez mixes in real history with his magicked world, especially in the fine details with how the ships operate. Yes, I'm a detail geek. The stuff fascinates me.
This is definitely a novella for people who already know the series and WANT MORE. I love these books--heck, I have a blurb on the cover of the new one, The Venusian Gambit, out next week--so I definitely fall in that category.
Take two parts naval adventure tale, one part historical fiction, mix in magic/unknown science and set the tale in a world where the American Revolution is being played out on moons of Jupiter with Nelson being the main character and you have The Gravity of the Affair. Well actually that is just the setting. The meat of the tale is figuring out why Nelson followed the frigate into the depth of space. Read the tale and find out. Then go on to read the rest of the story in the Daedulas series. I will.
The Gravity of the Affair is a gem of a novella placed in the alternate setting of the Known Worlds in which ships of the line fly as easily between planets in our solar system as they ply the seas of earth on the basis of practical alchemical science. Mr. Martinez created this setting in The Daedalus Incident (about which more here) in which Nelson has a cameo role. The novella is a delightful look at Nelson’s first command (in this alternate universe), a brief encounter with a Ganymede (equivalent of a recently independent America at war with Britain) ship. The Badger is aptly named as this small brig takes on the larger frigate. We are presented with a study in Nelson’s character as he navigates the encounter, a trial initiated by his subordinate, friends and Naval bureaucracy.
This was an excellent follow-up to the author's first book, The Daedalus Incident.
The science fiction/fantasy aspect so prominent in the first novel was less pronounced here. The focus was on the protagonist, Horatio Nelson. Or, more properly, a Horatio Nelson placed into an alternate history.
The premise is promising: place a well known historical (and real) British naval hero of the 18th century into an alternative universe, and use that person's well know character and flaws to propel the story. We see a young, rash and untested Horatio Nelson on display here. He shows is early character flaws, including his rashness in taking on a warship much larger than his. In real life, Nelson was a flawed character who demanded perfection from himself but was driven by monumental insecurities. We see that in this story as well.
Why only four stars? I felt the story needed more background information on Nelson to help explain his character, his motivations and his insecurities. Perhaps it's the nature of the writing form that is the short story novella, but I kept waiting for a bit more development and found myself disappointed. What is there is very good, but I wanted more depth and texture to flesh out the man that is Horatio Nelson in this universe.
The author clearly has significant room to continue to develop this story line in this universe, and bring it round to combine again with his characters from the Daedalus Incident.