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lisa m bartorillo
5.0 out of 5 starsLots of fun
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2018
I started out reading Mr. Mayne's books with The Naturalist. I was hooked. I then read its sequel. When I found that the next book in the series won't be out until next February I went looking for something else by this author. I found this book and the first in the series, The Chronological Man. So I thought I'd give it a try. What fun reads. Both are novellas so even though I couldn't put them down, they were short reads for me. They were interesting to say the least. The plot moved along and although it was resolved there are still some unanswered questions. Who is Smith really? He has a sister?! And what about April? I could use another book in this series. Seriously I could. I hope Mr. Mayne is listening. As I said this book has a good plot, interesting characters and was fun to read. What more could you ask for? If you're a Doctor Who fan you too will find this a can't put down book and even if you're not.
This steampunk mystery will keep you guessing until the very end and leave you wanting more! The Martian Emperor is a big mystery himself, but the mysterious Smith is even more intriguing. And I love the spunky Miss April Malone, Smith’s helpful sidekick. Science and mischief add to the mix in this fun read. I really hope Andrew Mayne continues this series with more books, and I think this would make a great TV series as well! Plus, I’d love to see April and Smith get together romantically in the end.
The Martian Emperor is the second instalment of Andrew Mayne's "The Chronological Man" series. I think readers who start with The Martian Emperor, rather than the first book in the series,
The Monster in the Mist (A Chronological Man Adventure) (The Chronological Man)
, are going to feel lost because Mayne does not spend any time in introducing the characters - the thoroughly modern April Malone and Smith - or explaining the central conceit by which Smith seems to travel through time. Those subjects are covered in "The Monster in the Mist." In this book, all the reader can do is barely get his seatbelt fastened before being taken for a high-paced joy-ride of an adventure.
It seems that it is 1894 and New York is besieged by Martians. A flying saucer of all things has appeared in New York's Central Park and the Martian Emperor wants Earthlings to lay down their arms and give him a million dollars in gold. This odd news results in Smith being decanted and Smith and his side-kick, April Malone, head off in Smith's private train to New York. Smith meets Teddy Roosevelt, who knows him of old, and seems to know more about Smith's background than he lets on, and Smith, Roosevelt and Malone set out to unravel the mystery. During the course of their adventure, they meet a young carnival performer named Harry Houdini who lends a hand. Even Nellie Bly gets a cameo.
Is it a hoax? Smith smells a rat because the "Martian" artifacts are too boilerplate cliche, and, yet, it also seems that the Martians are doing things that are in advance of the technology available in the closing days of the Nineteenth Century, kind of like Smith's own technology, which involves private automated trains, lighter than air flying vehicles and automated telegraph interception devices.
All in all, The Martian Emperor is a rollicking good yarn. Smith, Malone and Teddy make for engaging characters. There are some improbable scenes and good humor (e.g., "I'm commandeering your rhinoceros.") We get hints about Smith's backstory: his sick sister is making the slow journey to the future, he had conversations with "Tom" about what a just society should look like, and Smith may have a technologically advanced rival in a secret society called "the White Apothecarians."
The Martian Emperor is well worth the investment of time and money.
I will confess that I am a Mayne-iac. On my Listmania "Best Bargain Reads for the Kindle" he holds numerous spots (including #1). My love of this author began when I read Public Enemy Zero, ebbed a bid with The Grendel's Shadow, then became firmly cemented with The Chronological Man: The Monster in the Mist. I found his skill, particularly his knack at writing thoroughly captivating adventures in different and distinct genres to be first rate. It got to the point where I would often pop in on his author's page to see if he had anything new out.
What a great Christmas gift it was to discover that a new Chronological Man had been released. I was eager to jump in and follow the adventures of the elusive Dr. Who/Tony Stark/Sherlock Holmes mashup that is the main character Smith; a man who lives in suspended animation only to awake when he is most needed. I was hoping to find him solving more mysteries with the use of his brilliant machines, preternatural deductions, and the ever plucky Miss April Malone. And I am happy to report I was not dissappointed.
Where TMitM had more of a Steampunk vibe, this second installment fits squarely in realm of the serial adventure, the pulp or dime novel. It would not be a stretch to see Smith cross paths with The Shadow or Doc Savage or The Avenger. Mr. Mayne works this vibe brilliantly as he charges our hero with the task of saving the world from a Martian invasion he is sure is a hoax. By employing a larger landscape (19th century New York) and a cast of historical characters (Teddy Roosevelt says hi!) Mayne kicks his series into high gear. And like the serials from which he draws his inspiration, we are faced with non-stop action that will leave you breathlessly turning pages until the very satisfying conclusion.
Readers new to the series may sense a lack of character development that does not fully explain the mutual attraction between Smith and Ms. Malone. They may also feel slightly lost regarding Smith's "long naps" and references to events long passed. If so shame on you. For 99 cents you should be reading both The Monster in the Mist and The Martian Emperor...back to back...now! Read together, any cracks will surely be cemented over and what will be left is a solid body of work that is so entertaining you will wish there was a donation box on Amazon so that you could support Mr. Mayne even further.
Favorite quote: "You don't elevate a society by putting a diffferent set of crooks in charge to steal and put their boots on our necks. You elevate society by not putting the crooks in charge."
It had quite a few typos that annoyed me. I like the series and will read the next one for sure but more needs to be revealed about Smith. I wasn't as interested in the 2nd book probably because we don't learn more about Smith that would explain his amnesia or why he has to hibernate. I think you can explain more about Smith and it could probably open up more interesting story lines.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2012
This is a Boys Own adventure for grown ups, not at all the kind of thing I would normally read but Mayne writes well enough that I thoroughly enjoy his work regardless of the story. He evokes the world of the Chronological Man vividly, and when you read this series, you inhabit a fictional world that makes me think of the Day the Earth Stood Still (the Michael Rennie classic version) set in Jack the Ripper's London of 1888. Highly recommended,
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2012
Enjoyable easy to read adventure. This is the second in the series so don't start with this book. I like the characters and am intrigued by the sub plot that runs through the stories. My only plea to the author is not go down the 'will they won't they' road with the main characters - be radical and get them together! Will I buy the next in the series? Yes. It isn't an epic, it is good fun and a great read at the end of or better yet during a busy day.
4.0 out of 5 starsGood read if you enjoy Jules Verne type of books
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2013
The book is a sequel to the first in the Chronological Man series, the story is what you expect if you read book 1. I enjoy the escapism, adventure and historical disposition of the books. The romance between the two main characters builds in this adventure but does not take over the story line a pleasant change from some books.
Real boys' own adventure stuff, hugely enjoyable with interesting and likeable protagonists. Smith, the hero, seems to owe quite a lot to Doctor Who, and all the better for that. At 77p for the Kindle edition, this was the best value for money I'd had in quite a long time.
Good value purchase. Boys own type adventure which was easy and fun to read, took me back to my younger days! Will by further books in the series when they are published.
The Martian Emperor (A Chronological Man Adventure) (The Chronological Man)