Tom Miller, author of “The Philosopher’s Flight,” now returns with his equally enjoyable follow-up “The Philosopher’s War.”
This series follows Robert, an empirical philosopher with a noble heart. Empirical Philosophy is a female dominated field of scientific magic, and while “The Philosopher’s Flight” follows Robert as he fights to gain a spot on the U.S. Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation team, and to eventually save lives on the frontlines of the First World War, Miller’s continuation follows Robert’s adventures in the corps itself.
After his victory in gaining a spot, readers rejoin him as he journeys to France and finds that the politics and morality of warfare are more complex than he could have ever envisioned.
Thanks to the political motivations of certain higher-ups, Roberts division, the fifth, is understaffed and under-supplied, and Robert soon finds himself getting more than he bargained for.
This would not be a novel if saving lives was Robert’s only role, and he soon finds himself working with their leader and several other women to execute a plan which, if successful, would end the war with much less bloodshed.
As with “The Philosopher’s Flight,” Miller populates his newest novel full of tough and relatable women. And he offers us, in Robert, a gentle alternative to toxic masculinity.
In this follow-up, he continues to develop Robert’s character in astonishing and intimate ways, demonstrating with compassion and precision, the way in which the war does not leave him physically or emotionally unscathed. Readers watch as Robert loses his idealism and innocence—but never his humanity.
And while the ending leaves no stone unturned in this well paced, intricately plotted novel, one hopes that this is not the last readers will see of Robert and the interesting, multilayered world he inhabits. Miller’s brand of fantastical alternative history has become my newest go-to for escapist reading, and I sincerely hope that, with the publication of the second novel in this series, these books will get the attention they deserve.
Ashley Riggleson is a freelance reviewer from Rappahannock County.