AN UNLIKELY DUKE: VOLUME 1 OF THE MYRRIDIAN CYCLE
by Debra Killeen
Helm Publishing, Inc.
Science Fiction/Young Adult
AN UNLIKELY DUKE is an unlikely science fiction novel. I assume that since we are involving time travel, the book is in the science fiction genre. Oh, yes, magic is also utilized so that probably places the book slightly in the fantasy category. Overall, it’s just a well-written novel about human relationships and dealing with conflicts.
Everybody has the urge to sometimes just tell their boss to “take this job and…” Well, that is exactly the problem Dr. Christopher McCabe is dealing with. Working as a med student in a hospital is overwhelming for anyone and Chris is tired of the long hours and constant demands placed upon him. So when a friend shows him an advertisement placed in the newspaper, even though the actual job description was extremely vague, Chris responds to this opportunity. As he is waiting to be interviewed by Edward Fitzroy, Chris is startled when Mr. Fitzroy immediately dismisses the other applicants once he actually sees him. He knows he has the position. What he doesn’t know is what the actual position is that he is being offered.
Mr. Fitzroy would like Chris to come with him into an alternative world or time to double as Duke Christian Lattimore. Mr. Fitzroy expects Chris to be Christian’s double in order to prevent the presumed murder of Christian.
Chris shares this bizarre interview experience with his best friend, fellow resident, and roommate, Elijah Holmes. Both are intrigued by the proposal. For two scientists of medicine to actually believe this possibility is amazing in itself. Chris does believe that this Mr. Fitzroy is for real, but Elijah has some reservations. After much discussion, the two agree to both be involved in this experience. They deal with preparing for the adventure by having clothing made for them while still in our world. The twosome sees no problem with both of them entering this alternate world even though only Chris is expected. After all, who would notice Elijah, who stands well over six and a half feet and obviously has African ancestors in this alternative European-based white community?
When the two finally arrive at Myrridia, the real duke, Christian, has just been killed. The logical course now would be to find who murdered Christian and pretend to be him. Whoever is obviously surprised about him being alive, would be the murderer. That sounds fairly simple. However, now the problem begins with fitting into the society as the real duke and attempting to immediately assimilate into the culture. Logically, all does not go as planned.
I found AN UNLIKELY DUKE to be an enjoyable novel about how each person affects others. There is much more to being a person than just appearances. Even though this is in the science fiction/fantasy genre, the reality of human natures, faults, and gifts make this a study of humankind. The pace is even throughout the story. The characters were very believable. The story flowed and was logically thought out and organized to the end. There was constant wonder of what would actually happen.
The book is a finalist for the Reader Views awards for 2008.
Debra Killeen has worked in the pharmacy and clinical research fields. Her interest includes history and telling stories. She currently resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.I look forward to reading the next book in this series.