|Posted by Robert G. PIelke on April 21, 2013 at 11:45 AM|
by rmframe 4/18/13
A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator by Robert Pielke was an exciting read that deals with complex issues. It is an excellent follow up to the first book that surpassed expectations.
The book follows the continued efforts of Edwin Blair to stop the world from being destroyed in the future by the Pests, some of whom are with him in the time of the Civil War. The events of history are now significantly altered due to the presence of Blair and the aliens, but Blair does believe that history will bounce back. Unfortunately due to both the changes and memory loss he doesn’t know what is going on any longer.
There is a greater examination of Blair character and we learn more about the other characters that we met in the first book, such as Lincoln, John Hay, Cornelia Hancock, and the Pests themselves. We do not meet a great number of new characters, but we do get to meet Goyahkla and William Philo Clark whose translation ability is used in an interesting way.
The book delves further into the themes and plotlines brought up in the first book. Some of these include a more intense loss of memory and further loss of historical reference for the main character. Now Blair has only hints of stuff that he thinks he is supposed to remember, but he doesn’t always know what or why.
It also deals more heavily with the theme of prejudice as Edwin Blair attempts to hold on to his hatred for the “Pests” as more and more evidence piles up that they are a whole lot more like humans than Blair is comfortable with. It also deals with the greater reaction of the world to the aliens, which vary from pointing out their intelligence and human-like characteristics, to arguing for immediate extermination. It is set against the race relation issues of the Civil War, and some “sectarians” equate the African-Americans with the Pests, which causes great unease for Blair.
It was fascinating to watch Blair attempt to hold on to both his mission and his identity as everything slipped away from him. The reactions of people around him were interesting as they react with amusement, irritation, and fear to the fact that he no longer has a plan to achieve his goal, although he is sure that he had one when he arrived. This is troubling not only because of Blair’s own sense of self, but that he may no longer be able to stop Earth’s destruction if he doesn’t remember anything.
An interesting aspect to the plotline is that there was evidence that the future, past, and present were being tampered with, and not by directly Blair or the aliens, which lends a sense of mystery and urgency to the plot. It also dredges up the question for Blair as to whether he has been repeating the same actions over and over and may be thwarting or directing himself.
It was an excellent read and I look forward to reading more about Blair’s journey in the final book. If you like exciting and intricate plotlines with interesting themes and a protagonist who is less than ideal, then I think you will highly enjoy this book.