The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

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From the publisher:

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher’s Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service—a team of flying medics—Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women’s school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert’s mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert’s place among the next generation of empirical philosophers—and for philosophy’s very survival against the men who would destroy it.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher’s Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.


My review:

This book ended up being way more than I expected for a debut novel! The story was fascinating and very well-written. And Tom Miller did such a fantastic job of entwining his story with true history that I found myself getting caught up in the narrative and asking, “Wait, did that really happen?”

Miller managed to spin a tale that both entertains and calls out those who would be prejudiced against their fellow man (or woman) for whatever reason, rather than taking them on their own merits. He turns both sexism and religious intolerance on their heads to expose their useless underbellies, all while creating an alternate history that is seamlessly written.

I laughed, I cheered, I teared up, I wanted to scream at the characters…all signs of a well-crafted story. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller when it is released by Simon & Schuster on February 13, 2018.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

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