Obtained: I bought my copy from Amazon.
The Plot: Shaila Jain is back once more, this time as a leading part of the first manned mission to Saturn in an attempt to secure control of the planet’s resource rich moon, Titan. Along the way she runs into complications due to a competing Chinese ship that makes a reckless approach to the moon, causing Jain’s ship to redirect a secondary objective, the moon Enceladus. It’s not surprising that when Jain and her crew arrive at Enceladus things start to get a little crazy and they uncover a number of strange things happening beneath the moon’s surface.
For Thomas Weatherby it has been nearly two decades since his adventures took him on a fateful trip to Mars where he crossed paths with Shaila Jain and her team of researchers, and now he’s in command of a front-line warship, the Fortitude. He assists the navy in destroying a French fleet at the Nile, but then must give chase to an escaping French vessel that leads him to Saturn and an encounter with the mysterious and powerful race known as the Xan, a race he has encountered before.
While everything else is going on Andrew Finch has found a way to embed himself in a small group of Napoleon’s forces and finds himself discovering a very startling reason for the French to be invading Egypt in the first place.
The Commentary: I’ll be honest, it was going to take a powerful act of ineptitude for me not to like this book. It’s predecessor, The Daedalus Incident was one of the best books I read last year and I waited very anxiously for The Enceladus Crisis to be released. Everything about what Michael J. Martinez is doing with these books delights me, and this second book in the series was no disappointment.
The depth of the characters, especially Finch, Weatherby, and Jain is expanded by a significant measure in The Enceladus Crisis. They have all been given a little more back story to flesh out their pasts, they have all been given some relationship entanglements that keep them believable and honest, and they have all been distinctly marked by what happened in the first book. Marked in ways that directly impacts the kind of decisions they make when presented with the challenges in this book. It was great to see that kind of growth as it’s not uncommon for authors to forget those subtleties sometimes.
To my disappointment, Weatherby and Jain are never in the same room together, although they do think of one another at times. I had hoped for some more banter between the two of them during the action scenes, but alas, it was not meant to be, for now at least. I’m still holding out hope that the two of them will cross paths in future books and get to banter once more.
Martinez is building a very large universe for these characters to explore. In the first book the menace was somewhat specific, they had a specific bad guy to fight off, with a specific resolution. In The Enceladus Crisis, that is not the case. There are entities on multiple fronts that can cause harm to space and time, all of which will need their own solutions. I like this. It speaks to the idea that there is much more going on that can be exposed to the reader in future books, and perhaps speaks to the idea that there are more than just one or two books left to be read.
Needs More: Crossover between the timelines. In the first book, The Daedalus Incident, several key characters wound up occupying the same space on Mars for a little while as their respective timelines merged into one. That doesn’t quite happen with The Enceladus Crisis, although it does come rather close in spots.
Needs Less: Nothing. I may be suffering from clouded judgment due to being a bit of a fanboy when it comes to these books, but at no time while reading did I think to myself, “Man, I wish this would stop happening so much.” Take that for what you will.
Worth It? Good heavens, yes! If you’ve read The Daedalus Incident then you obviously need to read The Enceladus Crisis to see where the story goes next. This is a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the next installment.