Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saint Antony's Fire-Steve White

Saint Antony's Fire
Steve White
Baen, Nov 2008, $24.00
ISBN 9781416555988

In the early sixteenth century, instead of finding the Fountain of Youth that he sought, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon discovers a strange craft that apparently fell from the sky. He returns to Spain where rumors abound that he found something unique in the New World. In 1540, The Society of Jesus go to the Florida colony to investigate the de Leon tales. That expedition returns to Europe with a heavily cloaked small figure and soon afterward obtains Papal permission to establish a new order that include the Gray Monks.

Over seven decades later, Queen Elizabeth and her military advisers believe they will defeat the Spanish Armada that is sailing towards England. Instead the Spanish use weapons that shoot light beams of fire with uncanny accuracy. Led by the Gray Monk Father Jeronimo, who happens to be a Grella extraterrestrial, the Spanish destroy the English fleet and burn London with their antimatter weapon “ST. ANTONY'S FIRE.” Due to the heroics of privateer Captain Thomas Winslow Queen Elizabeth is evacuated by sea to the Virginia Colony. The English soon learn that the vanished Roanoke colonists last year entered a portal to another world where they have been at war against Jeronimo’s people, the Grella for two decades.

This action-packed alternate history thriller will hook readers who will want to know what happens to a host of real people like the Queen, William Shakespeare and the missing Roanoke colonists, etc. The fast-paced story line never slows down as one adventure leads to another revelatory escapade. Although none of the characters seem fully developed with the courageous heroic Thomas the most complete, fans will relish Steve White’s thrilling tale that seems to be the opening act of a fun stirring saga.

Harriet Klausner

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