Review: A Prince of Mars (Space 1889 & Beyond)

The next instalment of the Space 1889 & Beyond series and I can say only one thing: The dive that was Vandals on Venus was used to build up momentum and now it is going full steam ahead. Abattoir in the Aether was already one great novella and A Prince of Mars by Frank Chadwick is , well, I tell you what it is, just bear with me.

A Prince of Mars starts with intrigue and mystery, setting the stage for a more political adventure. Next, we get introduced to Kak’hamish, an old, experienced Martian also with an air of mystery about him. Than the story shifts back to our beloved main protagonists, Annabelle and Nathanael, who once again seem a bit different from the last instalment of the Space 1889 & Beyond series.
Both Earthlings are in a bit of a situation, after their aetherflyer crash-landed on Mars and owe their survival to the chance-meeting with Kak’hamish, who is the archetypical noble savage (or is he?).
After Kak’hamish helps them out, in a rather unfortunate way, get ready for a nasty surprize, all three travel on by merchant caravan and later merchant flyer. It soon becomes apparent not every Martian, in their trading caravan and in general, is too fond of humans and of Martians helping humans.

A Prince of Mars - Cover
Frank Chadwick uses this whole arrangement, the caravan, the Martian tribes, the cities, everything, to bring his version of Mars to the reader. You notice that this is his Mars and Space: 1889 is his creation. Mr. Chadwick adds so much life, so much detail, it is like a documentary in Technicolor. In fact, the whole novella has the feel of a 1960’s colonial-themed movie about it, only it is set on Mars. That is not to say all the bad stereotypes about civilized white men and savage local primitives are taken from the graves where they rightfully rot, no. Frank Chadwick takes the motifs and uses them in a more appropriate context. It becomes quite apparent the colonials from earth and the Martians are all the same kind of bastards and regular people. Exploitation and friendship happens everywhere.
What I found particularly fascinating was the insight in the machinations of the Cult of the Worm and a look at its priesthood and on daily life on a Martian flyer.
The only thing I did not like was the way Kak’hamish makes his exit, this, however is balanced out by the fact that even the main protagonists are not invulnerable. You will find out what I mean by.

A Prince of Mars is the so far best part of the Space: 1889 & Beyond series, I highly recommend reading it , especially to all who want to take a closer look at what is really going on Mars. And it ends with a great cliffhanger which I will say more about in the upcoming review of Dark Side of Luna.

10 out of 10 Zeppelins.

Go and read it!


2 Responses to Review: A Prince of Mars (Space 1889 & Beyond)

  1. Thanks very much for this terrific review. But also thanks for taking such good care not to let slip any „spoliers.“ As you know, there are lots of twists and turns in the plot and some big surprises, I thought you did a very job of balancing on the tightrope — commenting on some the the unexpected turns without letting any secrets out. That’s much appreciated.

    • Thank you for writing such a great novel. It was not all easy to write this review and I may not say morem
      , because every reason for why it was not easy would be a spoiler. Argh!