If you have read my review of A Different Life–What If? you may recall that I’m new to Joyce Reynolds-Ward’s Martiniere world of novels, whether they be the Martiniere Multiverse series that kicks off, The People of the Martiniere Legacy, or The Martiniere Legacy, the core series in this collection, of which The Enduring Legacy is the fourth volume. It’s a large world spreading multiple timelines across the multiverse, and I’m coming in late. So late, in fact, that while I don’t have confirmation that this is indeed the case, The Enduring Legacy feels like the concluding entry of the core Martiniere Legacy.
As A Different Life is the only book in this multiverse I’ve read, and as it takes place in a completely separate reality than The Enduring Legacy, I was largely unfamiliar with the world. I was familiar with the protagonists, Gabe and Ruby Martiniere as well as a number of the side characters, albeit far younger versions who met under different circumstances. Here, the characters are a good three decades older, who met under different circumstances resulting in their lives taking a different journey. As I started reading The Enduring Legacy, the book got me up to speed on the cliff notes about the story so far. While I do think it would resonate more with readers who have followed these characters through the previous books, I was able to follow along with the story and the characters.
As the story kicks off in December 2059, the world Reynolds-Ward presents is similar to our own. The rich prosper at the expense of everybody else, and billionaires with an altruistic mindset are few and far between. Recently remarried after being separated for decades, Gabe has risen to the head of his family’s empire, and is now “the Martiniere,” responsible for its operations. As he works to reposition his empire following the previous Martiniere, Philip’s dominance, Gabe is one of the few decent billionaires in the world, working with his wife on technology that will help the world. The Martiniere novels are classified by the author as “agripunk,” which combines agriculture with cyberpunk, and this future world presents a piece of speculative fiction where cyborgs, mind control, and a host of other science fiction themes are present.
The Enduring Legacy balances the science fiction elements with family drama surrounding a powerful family, romance between the protagonists, and a building threat to the Martiniere family and Gabe’s leadership of it. As the novel uses its two protagonists as point of view characters, interchanging chapter by chapter, it chronicles events over the course of almost fourteen years. With the large cast of characters, with their own problems and life events they need to deal with, there’s quite a bit to get through. It manages to get through all this admirably, however, the elongated time period means that outside of some individual moments, the book lacks urgency.
This lack of urgency is a price the reader pays for the heart of the story, which comes through Gabe and Ruby, and their view of not just each other, but their families. It chronicles their story from being newlyweds following their reunion to their later years in life. In doing so, the author provides a meditation on time and how it affects these characters. It is a story about growing older and the importance of family, whether you’re born into it, married into it, whether the relationships are solid, or if they are completely dysfunctional. As much as I enjoy The Enduring Legacy’s science fiction elements and the dynamics at play as the threat escalates throughout the novel, it is the heart of Gabe and Ruby’s happily ever after that resonates the strongest.
The prose throughout The Enduring Legacy is clean and crisp. Throughout the novel, Reynolds-Ward uses it to illustrate the story, whereby it tells the reader everything they need to know about the characters, their interactions and relationships, as well as exploring the futuristic world. It is easy to follow, and doesn’t bombard the reader with unnecessary information to create confusion. While an issue I had with A Different Life was that at times, the prose felt underwritten, it doesn’t here; it has the right level of detail to explore what needs to be explored.
Much like A Different Life, however, The Enduring Legacy is very dialogue heavy, with conversations often covering multiple pages. While Gabe and Ruby’s dialogue is largely strong, with each of them having strong, distinct voices that I enjoyed reading, the voices of the side characters are less strong, and felt more interchangeable with one another. These passages don’t flow quite as well as the rest of the book.
Much as the dialogue for the side characters doesn’t ring entirely true for me, I didn’t get a strong sense of character for The Enduring Legacy’s side characters. Some of this can be attributed to the dialogue, while another reason for this is the number of characters, and the book only having an estimated 363 eBook pages to work with (there is no hardcopy edition of the book to provide an exact page count for). While it is likely these characters have been explored further in the other Martiniere books (and The People of the Martiniere Legacy focuses on certain side characters), reading this in isolation meant that a lot of what I learned about these characters were from the perspective and opinions of other characters in the book.
As the fourth book in a series of interconnected series, The Enduring Legacy stands alone well enough that readers new to this world can jump right in, follow the events and enjoy the story. While it lacks some urgency and its side characters aren’t explored in the depth that I would have liked, it is a great story about a couple’s marriage as they grow older together and deal with everything that life brings their way.
The wind howled and whipped ice pellets against the north-facing bedroom windows when he woke. Gabe exhaled. His throat ached. The air moving through his nostrils burned warmer than usual. He didn’t want to move, arms and legs feeling like sandbags were piled on them.The Enduring Legacy: The Martiniere Legacy, Book Four, “A Voice…Weeping for Their Children”
The Enduring Legacy: The Martiniere Legacy, Book Four was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.
The Enduring Legacy is available in eBook form from book retailers (including—but not limited to—Amazon).
Note: I do not post scores for reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:
- Goodreads – To be posted upon the book’s Goodreads listing
You can follow Joyce Reynolds-Wood online, via: