Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Review: The Venusian Gambit by Michael J. Martinez

The Venusian Gambit
Author:  Michael J. Martinez
Series:  Daedalus 3
Publisher:  Night Shade Books, May 5, 2015
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 352 pages
List Price: $15.99 (print)
ISBN:  9781597808194 (print)
Review Copy:  Provided by the Publisher

The last chapter of the dimension-spanning Daedalus series brings the 19th and 22nd centuries together for an explosive finale in the jungles of Venus!

In the year 2135, dangerous alien life forms freed in the destruction of Saturn’s moon Enceladus are making their way towards Earth. A task force spearheaded by Lt. Cmdr. Shaila Jain is scrambling to beat them there while simultaneously trying to save crewmember Stephane Durand, who was infected during the mission to Saturn and is now controlled by a form of life intent on reopening a transdimensional rift and destroying the human race. But Jain doesn’t realize that the possessed Stephane has bigger plans, beaming critical data to other conspirators suspiciously heading not for Earth, but for Venus…

In 1809—a Napoleonic era far different from our own—the French have occupied England with their Corps Eternélle, undead soldiers risen to new life through the darkest Alchemy. Only the actions of Lord Admiral Thomas Weatherby and the Royal Navy have kept the French contained to Earth. But the machinations of old enemies point to a bold and daring gambit: an ancient weapon, presumed lost in the jungles of Venus.

Now, Weatherby must choose whether to stay and fight to retake his homeland or pursue the French to the green planet. And Shaila must decide if it’s possible to save the man she loves, or if he must be sacrificed for the good of two dimensions. In the dark, alien jungles of Venus, humanity’s fate in both dimensions hangs in the balance—forcing past and present to once again join forces against an ancient terror.

Trinitytwo's Point of View

The Venusian Gambit, book three of the Daedalus Series by Michael J. Martinez, is the grand finale of a unique and exciting sci-fi series. Part of the beauty of this series is that it’s not simply sci-fi, it’s also daring exploits, nail-biting espionage, brilliant war tactics, and mortal danger experienced by characters the reader truly cares about. In short, it’s kick-ass action with great human drama.

In 1803, on an Earth of an alternate history, Rear Admiral Thomas Weatherby continues to fight Napoleon’s devastating invasion of England and its settlements with the help of his brilliant wife Anne and good friend Dr. Andrew Finch, both highly powerful alchemists. Tom’s daughter, Elizabeth and Anne’s son, Philip are now of age and also join in the cause. However, Napoleon is not employing ordinary armed forces, as the French utilize their discovery of a dark alchemical secret to create soldiers from corpses; the relentless “Corps Éternelle”.

Meanwhile in 2134, Major General Maria Diaz and Lt. Commander Shaila Jain are trying to stop a chain of events that may lead to another cross-dimensional rift intended to release an ancient evil back into the world. Jain is also preoccupied by the fact that her lover, Dr. Stephane Durand, had been infected during the Enceladus Crisis and a sentient being entered his body and had taken control. She’s determined to do whatever it takes to get him back.

The Venusian Gambit is a pleasure to read. Martinez’s story just keeps getting better and better. He's found the perfect balance between the alternate past, where sailing ships are powered by alchemy through which they can journey to distant planets and the future, where traditional space travel is powered by science, and technology can be used with nefarious intent. It’s always great fun when the two worlds collide; I especially enjoy the battle scenes where cannon fire is pitted against lasers. Once again, I was glad to spend time with my favorite characters Tom Weatherby and Shaila Jain, and looked forward to their interactions. I also enjoyed the further character development of General Maria Diaz, Elizabeth Weatherby and Philip St. Germain.

Another great thing about the book, and the series, is that Martinez’s cast of characters is diverse. Issues such as sexism are touched upon in a matter of fact way that is never in your face but subtly gets the point across. I was amused, for example, when men of the 19th century found themselves taking orders from a female general from the 22nd and make military faux pas trying to get it right.

The conclusion of the series is very satisfying; the conflict is resolved in an explosive burst of action with results that made me a bit emotional. I was honestly sad to reach the last page. I will definitely miss reading about Jain and Weatherby’s exploits. The Venusian Gambit is truly sci-fi magic that you won’t want to miss.

Looking to spend time on another world? How about in another timeline? The Daedalus Series is your ticket to adventure and I would highly recommend putting this series on your reading list.


The Daedalus Incident
Daedalus Series 1
Night Shade Books, August 13, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
(the eBook was published in May 2013)

Mars is supposed to be dead…...a fact Lt. Shaila Jain of the Joint Space Command is beginning to doubt in a bad way.

Freak quakes are rumbling over the long-dormant tectonic plates of the planet, disrupting its trillion-dollar mining operations and driving scientists past the edges of theory and reason. However, when rocks shake off their ancient dust and begin to roll—seemingly of their own volition—carving canals as they converge to form a towering structure amid the ruddy terrain, Lt. Jain and her JSC team realize that their realize that their routine geological survey of a Martian cave system is anything but. The only clues they have stem from the emissions of a mysterious blue radiation, and a 300-year-old journal that is writing itself.

Lt. Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s Royal Navy is an honest 18th-century man of modest beginnings, doing his part for King and Country aboard the HMS Daedalus, a frigate sailing the high seas between continents…and the immense Void between the Known Worlds. Across the Solar System and among its colonies—rife with plunder and alien slave trade—through dire battles fraught with strange alchemy, nothing much can shake his resolve. But events are transpiring to change all that.

With the aid of his fierce captain, a drug-addled alchemist, and a servant girl with a remarkable past, Weatherby must track a great and powerful mystic, who has embarked upon a sinister quest to upset the balance of the planets—the consequences of which may reach far beyond the Solar System, threatening the very fabric of space itself.

Set sail among the stars with this uncanny tale, where adventure awaits, and dimensions collide!

Read Trinitytwo's review here.

The Gravity of the Affair
Daedalus eNovella
NLA Digital LLC, December 6, 2013
eBook, 61 pages

Before his victory at the Nile.

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).

Read Trinitytwo's review here.

The Enceladus Crisis
Daedalus Series 2
Night Shade Books, May 6, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 pages

Two dimensions collided on the rust-red deserts of Mars—and are destined to become entangled once more in this sequel to the critically acclaimed The Daedalus Incident.

Lieutenant Commander Shaila Jain has been given the assignment of her dreams: the first manned mission to Saturn. But there’s competition and complications when she arrives aboard the survey ship Armstrong. The Chinese are vying for control of the critical moon Titan, and the moon Enceladus may harbor secrets deep under its icy crust. And back on Earth, Project DAEDALUS now seeks to defend against other dimensional incursions. But there are other players interested in opening the door between worlds . . . and they’re getting impatient.

For Thomas Weatherby, it’s been nineteen years since he was second lieutenant aboard HMS Daedalus. Now captain of the seventy-four-gun Fortitude, Weatherby helps destroy the French fleet at the Nile and must chase an escaped French ship from Egypt to Saturn, home of the enigmatic and increasingly unstable aliens who call themselves the Xan. Meanwhile, in Egypt, alchemist Andrew Finch has ingratiated himself with Napoleon’s forces . . . and finds the true, horrible reason why the French invaded Egypt in the first place.

The thrilling follow-up to The Daedalus Incident, The Enceladus Crisis continues Martinez’s Daedalus series with a combination of mystery, intrigue, and high adventure spanning two amazing dimensions.

Read Trinitytwo's review here.

The Giveaway

What:  One entrant will win a signed Trade Paperback copy of the first novel in the Daedalus Series: The Daedalus Incident by Michael J. Martinez.

How:  Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59 PM US Eastern Time on May 17, 2015. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for this fascinating feature and captivating and wonderful giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. I've had The Daedalus Incident on my wish list for some time, I just haven't had a chance to get my hands on it yet. Thanks so much for the opportunity to perhaps win a copy. :D

  3. Looks like a really fun series. I've almost forgotten about it amidst all these new releases. Thanks for bringing it back on my radar.


  4. I am looking froward to reading this one. Thanks for the opportunity!!!