Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Map of the Sky

Entree *****of *****
If I could be a world class writer, I would want to be a writer like Felix J. Palma or Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Both write beautiful, lyrical, intricate novels that are superbly spun and satisfying tales. Their books are long, so you can stay immersed in the fantastical world they create for a long time. often, i wish that their books would never end and that they could write far more quickly to accommodate my passion for their writing. Now to the story at hand.
Make sure that you read The Map of Time before you read The Map of the Sky. Palma is an absolutely brilliant, lyrical writer who pays homage to the Victorian era in which his novels are places by writing stylistically in the manner of that time. He should really thank his interpreter, too, because the translator captures every nuance of the story that Palma tells.

The Map of the Sky is told in three parts, each distinct, but intertwined. Author H.G. Wells, plays a role in each. The dire events of this novel are kicked off innocuously, as Wells meets an American writer who has published a horribly written novel using The War of the Worlds as its basis, for lunch.  Wells wants to tell the man off, but when his counterpart offers to show him a real Martian, Wells is hooked.  The story rapidly moves from the preserved specimen in the British Museum to back story of the museum specimen- a horrific tale of the failure of an Antarctic adventure from which only two members survived.

The second section of the novel brings Wells to the center of the story, and reintroduces a character from the last book with a new name.  It’s the man who created the time travel experience that angered Wells so much in the Map of Time. This millionaire has the impunity to ask Wells to help him create the beginning of The War of the Worlds to impress the young woman with whom he has fallen deeply in love so that she will marry him. Of course Wells refuses to even answer the letter but when the initial invasion occurs exactly as Wells wrote it, both Wells and his nemesis end up as suspects in the eyes of the Special Cases division of Scotland Yard.  However, this is not the hoax that was planned but the real invasion of London and the rest of the world by aliens.

The third part of the novel takes place two years later, and here the story again revisits a secondary character from The Map of Time. In this section, his tale is the center of the story, but it serves to move the whole narrative towards its outstanding, complex and absolutely brilliant conclusion.

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