Book Reviews – “Arabella The Traitor of Mars” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by David D. Levine (https://www.daviddlevine.com). Mr. Levine has published three novels as well as numerous novellas and short stories. This is the third in his
“The Adventures of Arabella Ashby” series. Read the interview with him.
I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in an alternate history to our own. While the story is set in Earth’s 19th century, this one has lighter-than-air craft traveling around the Solar System since the 1600s. The main character in this fantastical tale is Mrs. Arabella (Ashby) Singh, a young woman who has grown up in the British Colony on Mars.
While she is a more or less proper English young lady, she has shown far more interest in adventure and mechanical automata than English refinement. She has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with as she helped her fiance defeat Napoleon’s space navy at Venus. While in London celebrating the defeat of Napoleon and paying last respects to Lord Nelson who died in the battle, she learns of a plan by both The Mars Company and the British Crown to force the entire planet of Mars into the British Commonwealth.
Flush with the defeat of Napoleon, there seems to be no obstacle to Britain’s domination of Mars or the Solar System. When her husband is chosen to lead the British forces, she feels betrayed and flees Earth in a desperate attempt to reach Mars ahead of the British forces and lead a resistance as she feels Mars is her home rather than England. It becomes a race to see if adequate Martian forces can be brought together to oppose the powerful British fleet.
I enjoyed the 8.5+ hours I spent reading this 336 page steampunk alternate history and fantasy. While I liked the story and there are several very well created battles between opposing vessels, I really had a hard time with the notion of there being a breathable atmosphere between planets and ‘sailing ships’ able to travel through space. Perhaps if I had started with the first book in the series things would have been explained, but I doubt it. I was able to pick up this third novel in the series and read it without really needing to have read the prior novels in the series. I do like the cover art. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.
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