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The Daedalus Incident

By: Michael J. Martinez
Narrated by: Kristin Kalbli,Bernard Clark
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Editor reviews

An interstellar swashbuckling fantasy adventure, The Daedalus Incident captures two very different frontiers: a cave system on Mars undergoing geological exploration, and the open ocean of the 18th century. With the discoveries of two intrepid explorers, Lt. Jain (voiced by Kristin Kalbli) and Lt. Thomas Weatherby (voiced by Bernard Clark), and the incredible overlap between their worlds, this mind-bending genre mashup truly takes off. Energetic performances from Kalbli and Clark make this already engrossing adventure a must-listen for fans of fantasy and historical adventure alike.

Summary

Mars is supposed to be dead. Bizarre quakes are rumbling over the long-dormant tectonic plates of the planet, disrupting its trillion-dollar mining operations and driving scientists past the edges of theory and reason. However, when rocks shake off their ancient dust and begin to roll seemingly of their own volition carving canals as they converge to form a towering structure amid the ruddy terrain, Lt. Jain and her JSC team realize that their routine geological survey of a Martian cave system is anything but. The only clues they have stem from the emissions of a mysterious blue radiation, and a 300-year-old journal that is writing itself.

Lt. Thomas Weatherby of His Majesty’s Royal Navy is an honest 18th-century man of modest beginnings, doing his part for King and Country aboard the HMS Daedalus, a frigate sailing the high seas between continents and the immense Void between the Known Worlds. With the aid of his fierce captain, a drug-addled alchemist, and a servant girl with a remarkable past, Weatherby must track a great and powerful mystic, who has embarked upon a sinister quest to upset the balance of the planets the consequences of which may reach far beyond the Solar System, threatening the very fabric of space itself.

©2013 Michael J. Martinez (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Daedalus Incident

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hornblower/Alien Steam-Punk Adventures!

This review really relates to all 3 volumes of this series.
A wonderful mash-up of lots of sci-fi and fantasy tropes, fleshed out with the occasional appearance from real-life historical characters. Initially a bit confusing but after a while one can just relax and wallow in the pure fun of the story. Very well-written, the author easily masters juggling several story-lines at once. As I'm British I'm particularly pleased that life on board a circa 1800 Navy battleship is so well evoked and there's plenty of hard sci-fi mixed up too.
Fabulous performances from both readers, Kristin in particular manages a really good cut-glass British accent, somewhat reminiscent of Downton Abbey's Lady Mary.
Top class entertainment!

3 people found this helpful

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Rivetting sci-fi fantasy

If you could sum up The Daedalus Incident in three words, what would they be?

Marvelous, exciting, imaginative.

What other book might you compare The Daedalus Incident to, and why?

Not sure it does compare to any other book I've read. This is like a mash up of Master and Commander In Space meets The Martian Chronicles.

Two universes: Ours but a 100 years or so in the future and another parallel universe where time has run slower so it is only 1780 or so and they have working alchemy which allows them to fly sailing ships in space to the other planets in our solar system which actually support life. The story runs in parallel but the characters in the two universes eventually meet to combat a common enemy.

Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark – was your favourite?

They're all excellently portrayed. Some slightly dodgy English accents and pronunciations from the American readers but not bad enough to be off-putting. They both give excellent performances.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Its all exciting stuff. Couldn't wait to get back to listening to it.

Any additional comments?

I initially found it rather odd having sailing ships in space and this put me off a little. However, give it a chance and you'll see it totally works in the context of this novel and the two universes. It builds up into an exciting story with characters you'll get to really root for. The sequel is also excellent and I'm really looking forward to book 3 which is surely coming.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story, only disrupted by the accents

I was sceptical about this story at first. I struggled a bit with the blending of alchemy and harder sci-fi. But came to really like the characters and enjoy the plot. The performance is also *mostly* good. My criticism as a Brit and Francophile is of the accents, which are... horrendous! They really jarred me out of the story in places. Why does a character, announced as having a thick Liverpudlian accent in the text, instead have a thick Scottish brogue? Why does a Navy pilot from Birmingham sound like the Queen? And why do the French characters sound like something from a Monty Python sketch? Surely it makes sense to have British actors voice a story with primarily British heroes, rather than Americans who sound like they learned English accents by watching Downton Abbey?

1 person found this helpful

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Quite enjoyable

I quite enjoyed listening to this. I thought it was a unique story and I enjoyed the switching narratives and they way they came together in the end. I thought the characterisation could have had some more depth and some of the dialogue and storylines were predictable. On the whole though I enjoyed listening to it and it was narrated well.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable, but a bit long winded.

Pretty good story and narration, but probably could have done with a bit of further editing as it seemed to take a lot of time to get to the point. Also it would have been good to have an English narrator for the man's part given that he was pretending to be a British naval officer!

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Good story, terrible accents

I nearly gave up on this early on because the British accents, especially the 18th century ones were so appallingly done, but I'm glad I stuck with it because the story was gripping and engaging as well as intelligently plotted. Overall very enjoyable despite the poor attempts at sounding English..

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A great story twist

I really enjoyed this book. The story is mind bending and fantastic.
Very well read and I could connect to all of the characters.

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Surprise brilliant free book

Having listened to several mediocre books in the included section I was very pleasantly surprised but this one. A great mash up of a steampunk and a hard science fiction novel that had a wonderful turn at the end.

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Great story, but…

In truth I found the story to be compelling and based on an interesting approach. The characters are well thought out, and, quite rightly, the author takes time to provide the relative back stories. Presenting the two strands of the story between two voices worked nicely and provided a clear awareness of who, where and when that could have otherwise been a bit blurry.

However…
The female narration didn’t flow well at times, almost sounding like Siri (other voice assistants/AIs are available), and as though the reader recorded all of the various characters lines separately, to be laid out in the correct sequence in the edit.
The male narrator made me laugh out loud. Not because he was particularly funny, but his ‘mastery’ of accents was comical. As he is an actor one might have expected him to research and or rehearse accents; but this one denounces that expectation as folly. The author tells us that one of the English characters has a Liverpudlian accent, but the reader seemed to have no idea what a “scouse” accent sounds like, opting instead for a strange Scots/Irish mongrel.
My final thoughts are for the choices made by the author and/or narrator: many times through the story we are reminded of the fact that the two central characters are officers of the British Royal Navy and hail from England.
So why then, has the narrator managed to overlook the fact that British military pronounce Lieutenant as left-enant and not loo-tenant; that ships moor alongside a quay (key), not a cway; and that female officers senior to oneself are addressed as “Ma’am” not mum?
Little details, but ones that can grate and spoil the authenticity of the story.

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So different!

The story is really not like anything I have ever listened to. I have enjoyed it and the narration is spectacular I have nothing but praise for them excellent.

I have gone on to listen to book two and although different it has quite a lot of similarities to one. A bit long winded in parts but I still enjoyed it. Now for book three.

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  • A reader
  • 11-09-13

I wanted to love this more, but still solid...

I feel bad that I didn't enjoy this book more, since it was a potentially interesting mix of hard near-future SF and spelljammer Georgian sailor/astronauts - even writing that description shows the potential! And it isn't a bad book at all - the story relies on some nice elements of familiar Golden Age science fiction puzzle solving, mixed with more fantastic and swashbuckling adventures. So, there is fun to be had.

Unfortunately, the author can't quite pull off the audacious storyline, mostly, oddly, because of failures of imagination. The overall setting is terrifically good, especially the alternate version of Master and Commander-style swashbuckling among the stars, but Martinez doesn't really do enough with it. Given the initial imagination, one wishes that the author would give us more exotic settings, but instead we get a moderately clever one-to-one translation of the world of the late 18th century to the solar system - Venus as Africa/South America, Mercury as Australia, etc. Similarly, the characters are rather stock, and the worldbuilding just sketchy enough to be distracting (the geopolitics and technology seem remarkably stagnant in the future, for example). This is coupled with clunky descriptions (a mining robot is described as looking like Curiosity rover, a vehicle is described as looking like a 20th century pickup truck, etc.). The overall effect is a book that you wish was written by a bit more capable writer to fully deliver.

The reads are similarly almost good enough. A few accents are flubbed, some readings are a bit off - again, nothing horrific, but you wish for just a bit more.

I certainly don't mind the time I spent with the book, but I kept waiting to get blown away and it didn't happen. In the end, solid enough, but it could have been much more.

6 people found this helpful

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  • C. Hartmann
  • 19-08-13

A Winner ! Unique Story, Excellent Narration

Fresh, clever and interesting. In the first couple of chapters I thought this simplistic. As it moves forward, however, it picks up speed, becomes more complex and is a great deal of fun.

Someone said it is Master and Commander crossed with a near-future Martian colony -- but that HARDLY describes what goes on here.

I can't say too much without giving it away -- a wonderful first book ! Well worth the listen !!!!

Superb performances by both Ms. Kalbli and Mr. Clark !

5 people found this helpful

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  • Win
  • 22-08-13

Clever and entertaining

What made the experience of listening to The Daedalus Incident the most enjoyable?

You shall experience heavy bouts of cognitive dissonance as you move through this book. Just go with the flow, It will all work out in the end.Try not to read to much about this book ahead of time. Half the fun is trying to resolve the two main narratives.In order to create his fictional world(s), Mr. Martinez has managed to take a square peg and pound it firmly into a round hole. The fact that he seems to have succeeded is praise enough for this reviewer. I enjoyed this book, I hope you will as well.

Have you listened to any of Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The narrators have done a good job with this tale, although Mr. Clark may wish to work on his English dialects a bit.

4 people found this helpful

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  • wayne
  • 11-04-14

fiction sans science

I love steampunk. It gives writers and readers the ability to suspend belief and just enjoy the adventure. That said this writer is trying to bridge the gap between science fiction and steampunk. A worthy goal, but failes completely at the science part of science fiction, forgoes all known extraterrestral science and just makes things up on both sides of the coin. I found the steampunk world in this story compelling, and fun, but was completely aghast at the lack of basic science in the rest of it. Give me a world untethered to reality or give me a world based on at least a basic understanding of reality.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 07-10-13

Love this! Great study of leadership in crisis.

Would you listen to The Daedalus Incident again? Why?

I would - great storytelling!

Who was your favorite character and why?

I loved the two main characters, and the commanders of on both sides showed great leadership of them.

Which character – as performed by Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark – was your favorite?

I loved Finch!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the two stories began to overlap, as you knew they would at some point, it was very exciting - like sit in your driveway because you don't want to stop it exciting!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Veronica
  • 19-08-13

Great Swashbuckling fun, in outer space

The Daedalus Incident was a very enjoyable read/listen. The voice actors were good and really seemed to bring this story to life. The book itself was a wonderful genre mash up, with an alternate earth that I very much would love to read/listen about more. The characters were interesting and easy to like/hate, and the introduction of actual historical figures was well done. (though Ben Franklins voice was a bit whiny, but I am not sure if that is how he sounded in real life (or was believed to have talked) as I am not a time traveller. The transition between the two time periods was also very smoothly done and I felt the suspense build the entire book, right up to the big climax. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good action adventure, with a heavy dose of Sci-Fi and a splash of historical fiction. I look forward to see what happens to the characters and there respective worlds in future books!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Leon Miller
  • 24-01-16

Meh.

Would you try another book from Michael J. Martinez and/or Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark ?

I don't think so.

Any additional comments?

“To have one boring narrator may be regarded as a misfortune; to have two looks like carelessness.” This was one of the best-reviewed Science Fiction books of 2013, so when Amazon offered the Whispersync version at a steep discount, I jumped at it. “Whispersync” gives you both the Kindle and audio versions, allowing you to follow along while listening. Both reading and listening teaches you that excellent narrators can improve a lesser book, while lesser narrators can diminish an otherwise excellent story. “The Daedalus Incident” was unusual in having two narrators, and so I looked forward to a true theatrical experience. Instead, it was a dreary sixteen-hour slog. Granted, I’m an outlier: most people like this book and its Audible edition, critics have praised the book itself, and it did get more interesting toward the end… but not interesting enough to justify the time. I’d like my sixteen hours back.

2 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 14-10-13

Well Woven Story-lines

Would you listen to The Daedalus Incident again? Why?

Absolutely. The two readers were excellent, the story was solid, and the way Martinez wove the two separate story-lines into a coherent whole was excellent. Plus, there's the possibility of follow-up novels.

What other book might you compare The Daedalus Incident to and why?

I've read a lot of Steampunk (though this doesn't quite fit the mold). I've read quite a bit of bad Naval Fiction, and not a small amount of good. This bridges the two. Imagine a Gaslight/Steampunk world (but based on alchemy, not steam) crossed with a modern detective story ... then spread it across the solar system. It's a melange I really can't compare to anything else.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are a myriad of good scenes in the book. Arguably, I'd have to say the meeting with the Zon (Xon? Zhon?) is one of the best because so rarely does an author do exposition well. It's often necessary to convey information to the reader, but the tendency to just Tell quickly to get back to the story rather than show is always there. I think of David Weber and, to a lesser extent, Ringo and even Niven (but especially Weber) with the occasional Holy Infodump. The revelation on Saturn was well done rather than just twenty-pages (minutes) of exposition.

Any additional comments?

Solid book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in something genuinely new-feeling.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 28-10-14

Don't get the wooden ships in space thing...

I review only the books that I have a strong opinion of and this is definitely one of them. This book has a serious cybil complex... at first, it's a credible hard core sci-fi book during the mars pieces of the story, then splits personality to describe seemingly wooden ships flying around the solar system in the 1700's utilizing magic and having ancient cannon battles.

I kept trying to figure the wooden ship pieces and though at first it was a flashback in time, but then it introduced a date in the 1700's with ships flying in space with outer space with "lode stones". I wish the author skipped the fantasy pieces as they simply were not credible in my opinion and I simply could not get past it. The author should have picked a genera and stayed with it...

I returned the book after the first few chapters as I found it simply too confusing. I would not recommend this book for either hard copy sci-fi'ers or fantasy lovers as the author attempts to make both camps happy and fails miserably at both.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-10-13

This is a fantasy and not sci fi

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I really like science fiction because it makes me think, and I love the innovative and imaginative ways they paint the future.

This book would be for someone who likes it when a science fiction book meets fantasy.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The Rho Agenda

What didn’t you like about Kristin Kalbli and Bernard Clark ’s performance?

The two vastly different story lines keep going back and forth, and it's not until later you can somewhat put together how they both fit together.
Seemed more of a fantasy genre, and I unfortunately veer away from that area. They synopsis leads you to believe its more of a hard sci fi book which it is definitely not.

What character would you cut from The Daedalus Incident?

I'd cut the entire fantasy aspect out which is all the characters from the fantasy universe with it's demon god and all.

Any additional comments?

Sorry to bash this one so badly, but I went in expecting to get more of what the synopsis promised. What I got from this book was some fantasy crap.

1 person found this helpful