"The Map of the Sky" (Atria), by Felix J. Palma
Spanish author Felix J. Palma, with an amazing translation by Nick Caistor, has delivered a cross-genre masterpiece. "The Map of the Sky" isn't a thriller, science fiction, or fantasy, and it's not horror or a romance. It's an amazing blend of all of them set during Victorian times. Palma looks at Edgar Allan Poe's novel "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" and ponders what event in Poe's life compelled him to write such an adventure.
In "Map of the Sky," a young woman with a secret she would prefer to keep hidden finds herself with an aggressive suitor. To get rid of him, she tells him the only way she will marry him is if he can re-create the events that transpire in the book she's just read, "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells. If the invasion of London transpires in real life, she will accept his hand. The suitor, Montgomery Gilmore, agrees, and starts a terrifying chain of events that will change the future of the world and make Wells look like a prophet.
"The Map of the Sky," a mixture of real people and events with fantastic splashes of aliens, time travel and gothic mystery, has it all. The writing immerses the reader in another world that resembles our recent past, but not quite. Palma seeks the motivations behind the authors and their creations, and comes up with a tale that defies description.
Readers of Palma's "The Map of Time" will find a worthy sequel, and newcomers will have no problem following the events in his latest book.