I was really exited when I saw this Elizabeth Crowens' Silent Meridian posted as a possibility to review with Books Unleashed. I love steam punk and gaslight fiction. I love stories that incorporate historic figures in fun, imaginative ways, as Seth Grahame-Smith did with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or in another story I reviewed, Tim Symonds's Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of Einstein's Daughter. In my mind these stories work best when one or two historic characters are thrown into the path of our protagonist. I also love alternative methods of time travel stories, as I am a huge Doctor Who fan.
So I gave this story a couple of thumbs-up before I even read it. There are a lot of really interesting elements going on it. For the most part the protagonist is likable and I sympathized with him. I enjoyed the various settings and the mysticism built in.
Ultimately, however, it left me feeling as if it could have used another good edit before it went out to audiences. A few typos and, more jarringly, inconsistencies really pulled me out of the enjoyment of the reading. And the plot never really seemed to gel. I never felt as if I understood what the real struggle was for the protagonist, where he needed to get by the end of the story.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is obsessed with a legendary red book. Its peculiar stories have come to life, and rumors claim that it has rewritten its own endings. Convinced that possessing this book will help him write his ever-popular Sherlock Holmes stories, he takes on an unlikely partner, John Patrick Scott, known to most as a concert musician and paranormal investigator. Although in his humble opinion, Scott considers himself more of an ethereal archaeologist and a time traveler professor.
Together they explore lost worlds and excavate realms beyond the knowledge of historians when they go back in time to find it. But everything backfires, and their friendship is tested to the limits. Both discover that karmic ties and unconscionable crimes have followed them like ghosts from the past, wreaking havoc on the present and possibly the future.
Silent Meridian reveals the alternate histories of Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Houdini, Jung and other luminaries in the secret diaries of a new kind of Doctor Watson, John Patrick Scott, in an X Files for the 19th century. Stay tuned for A Pocketful of Lodestones, book two in the Time Traveler Professor series by Elizabeth Crowens.