Crusading knights and faster than light
The White Light of Tomorrow
By D. Pierce Williams
D. Pierce Williams
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date 01 May 2017
Self published novels can be hit or miss. The White Light of Tomorrow is definitely a hit. It is very different from your standard science fiction fare. On the one hand, you have a civilization capable of faster than light travel (on ancient preserved ships) and on the other hand, that same civilization considers technology anathema and follows the strict ruling of religion (much like in the dark ages - complete with crusading knights with armor and swords). It is the mark of a good writer that D. Pierce Williams makes this seemingly implausible setup utterly believable.
Adrian of Tarsus is a knight traveling on board the Miranda along with his daughter Mariel. Mariel suffers from severe migraines that have only grown worse over time. He hopes to find a technological relic that will cure her, despite it being forbidden. Nothing is ever straightforward. In the attempt to retrieve what may be of help, Adrian draws the attention of the Inquisition, a deadly and powerful branch of the Church with its own agenda.
I was very impressed by the breadth of The White Light of Tomorrow. D. Pierce Williams has done an excellent job creating a culture at war with itself over technology, taking clear inspiration from history. Williams’s central characters are believable in nature, intent and course of action. When you add in a complex plot with plenty of action, the result is a winner. I’m definitely looking forward to what Williams releases next.
5 / 5
I received a copy of The White Light of Tomorrow from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Adrian of Tarsus loves his daughter, Mariel. In a universe ruled by superstition and malice, it's the only thing he can be certain of. The White Light of Tomorrow is a story about love and respect shared by a father and daughter, how it improves them, and how it empowers them in an actively hostile universe.
A veteran Knight-Hospitaler in the service of the universal Church, Adrian is a very unlikely father whose problems are compounded by the knowledge that Mariel is dying from a mental ailment unknown to medicine. Adrian and the crew of his spaceship, the Miranda, survive a clandestine meeting and bloody ambush on a backwater planet where he at last acquires the relic of ancient, heretical technology he hopes will save Mariel's life. That's when the swords come out. Along with fists, daggers, crossbows, and poison. Adrian's initial victory leads to betrayal by a close companion and sets in motion a breakneck adventure through a weirdly familiar future in which Crusading knights face Ottoman Janissaries while spies and scoundrels ply their trades in filthy alleys and rich drawing rooms.
Adrian and Mariel's story culminates in an incredible archaeological discovery and a deadly confrontation with the Church's most dangerous--and most unstable--Inquisitor. Along the way, they wrestle with allies and enemies including a secretive engineering guild, a beautiful publican with something risky up her sleeve, a dog with a taste for ale, and a somewhat ethereal scientist and her mad computer. In the end, though, Mariel herself may prove to be Adrian's most confounding opponent.