Review: The Macedonian Hazard (Queen of the Sea #2) by Eric Flint, Paula Goodlett, Gorg Huff

Rating: 10/10

Synopsis:

A new tale of time-displaced persons fighting for their lives in the ancient world, from 1632 and Boundary series creator Eric Flint.

It’s been more than a year since the cruise ship Queen of the Sea was transported in time and space to the ancient Mediterranean not long after the death of Alexander the Great.

Captain Lars Floden and the other “Ship People” are trying to plant the seeds of modern civilization. It’s not an easy task, to put it mildly, even if they have a tacit alliance with the co-regents of Alexander’s empire, his widow Roxane, and Eurydice, the wife of his half-brother.

For they have plenty of enemies, too. Cassander is using every foul means available to turn Macedonia and Greece into his own empire. The brutal general Antigonus One-Eye is doing the same in Mesopotamia. And Ptolemy, the cleverest of them all, is expanding his Egyptian realm to the Red Sea.

Things aren’t any easier in the colony that passengers from the cruise ship founded on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. President Allen Wiley is trying to build a twenty-first century democratic nation, but the people he has to work with aren’t the most suitable for the task: oldsters from the future, local tribesmen, and third-century BCE immigrants from Europe and Africa.

War, religious strife, assassinations, espionage, poisonings and other murders—and a fair amount of love, too—all mix together with the Ship People’s knowledge from the 21st century to form a new weaving of the fates. Hopefully, that will lead to a bright new future. If it doesn’t kill everyone first.

Review:

I was provided an ARC via Edelwiess, all thoughts are just that, my opinion only.

The Macedonian Hazard is a smart novel. I am no historical expert, nor do I claim to be a scientific expert on this matter. This series is more focused on its world-building because it has this: When different eras come and interact with each on a time mesh, then there is bound to be a more scientific explanation than the story. Why is that you might ask? It’s explaining this, that when 21st-century people are interacting with 4th-century people, the results can be wonderful, it can be unique, but it can also get slow pacing in some parts.

It’s smart in the sense that it doesn’t explain everything in one go. There’s a lot of POVs in this novel. You get to see the rulers of the Diadochi, which is basically Alexander’s general’s engaging in a huge civil war after he died. You see them trying to manipulate the Queen of the Sea, captained by Captain Lars, to get more resources. They’re trying to break the neutrality that the Queen of the Sea has. It can house, what, maybe 4000 passengers? But I can’t give all the answers to scientific research and mining for oil, for example. That I leave to you, dear reader.

I enjoyed the parts where the Ancients were reading about what happened to them in history. And how they try to manipulate the 21st-century people by using Wikipedia. No Joke. You got the characters of the Diadochi: Eumenes, Olympias, Roxanne, Dag and so many more. My suggestion to the authors that while I loved the fact that both Carthage and Rome were using 21st-century technology (I.e. Accessing the computers of the Queen of the Sea) I WANTED to see more of their viewpoint. It also disappointed me we didn’t see many Ancients use social media or YouTube. YouTube has become TV for me. I would reccomend the authors to watch El Ministerio Del Tiempio, a Spanish TV show that has people collaborating from all periods working under a special Ministry of Time to prevent Spanish history from being changed. It is a massive hit series. But I’d seriously love to see what an Ancient Greek, Egyptian or Carthaginian does as being a fellow Youtuber. Seeing the Ancients having access to social media would be so cool. This is however, under the limitations of what the authors can do. But it would seriously be such a good thing. I don’t like cable TV anymore. It would be so COOL to see how the Ancients use social media. I feel that in the next book; we need more of this.

Some parts had me giggling for no reason but just finding out how the Ancients use email. Like literally, you want a job posting for a worker or slave? Put it on the internet! Then have Ancient Romans and Carthaginians emailing you offering you their slave, but they are demanding expensive prices. That was so hilarious. I just don’t want to spoil this story. It’s very well written, fun, and immersive. There’s a lot of brutalities because this period was brutal, and it can get confusing if you haven’t read the first book. So I suggest you read the first book, and then the second. Another suggestion I would make is, I am sure there would have been Indian passengers from India that could help with advising how to contact India. Because if a 21st-century cruiser goes to 4th century India. This will change the landscape and the technology there by a decade.

I want to see more interactions between Ancient peoples using 21st-century technology and social media. I want to see more of this. I also liked the New World colony story, but wouldn’t it make more sense that if the ancestors of the Mayans, Aztecs and Olmecs were to go on the Queen of the Sea, log onto a computer, discover the cities that their ancestors would build, that they would adopt these techniques rather quickly? Also I love the Carthaginians in this novel. I really want to see more of them establishing colonies in the New World. I dislike the fact that warfare will transform from sword and shield to guns and explosives. I’d want combat to be something similar to 16th century combat or something like that. But not to the extent because there is no honor in exploding bombs.

It’s an amazing book and I say watch out for Phillip the III of Macedon. He’s perhaps one of the most intelligent characters in this book. And watch out for the ending. The ending foreshadows that history will change. I just had fun reading this. I was excited to see this on Edelweiss and knew I was in for a treat. I wish more mainstream fantasy publishers like Orbit and Tor UK, Gollancz, Little Brown Group UK, and independent fantasy publishers like Angry Robot would seriously recognize the potential that time travel and the ancient world has to offer!

I also felt this novel was too short. It needed to be much longer! I’d happily read a 1000 pages of this wonderful alternate time travel history novel 🙂

And KUDOS to the cover designer. He/She did a FANTASTIC JOB. I seriously am going to ask that you guys produce an artbook showing ALL the illustrations of this new world. It would FIT SO WELL AS A GRAPHIC NOVEL AND A NETFLIX SERIES!

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