Classification: Historical Characters
The Fabulous Riverboat is the second book in the Riverworld saga.
The Riverworld: a place where everybody who has ever lived has been resurrected, and now must seek out a place for himself in this brave new world. From Abraham Lincoln to Al Capone, everyone is there.
The Fabulous Riverboat continues the plot which started in To Your Scattered Bodies Go. This time the protagonist is Sam Clemens also known as Mark Twain.
During the time that has passed since the resurrection, there have been some attempts to make order. Numerous ‘countries’ have been organized. Some are dictatorships, others are democratic. Some are friendly, other are warlike. In addition, the people from the technological eras are pretty much in the same state as primitive humans. Don’t forget, since everyone has been resurrected and the planet has no history, there are no factories or available technology whatsoever. And even though the knowledge to obtain this certainly exists in the population, tracking down the right person among the billions of humans, with no phones or internet, is no simple task.
Sam Clemens has met a mysterious being claiming to be a rebel of the group that created the Riverworld and resurrected humanity there. The being supports his goal to explore the river, and instructs him where he can find iron deposits which he can use to construct the riverboat. In addition, obtaining the iron will be extremely useful in defending the venture from hostile societies; since metal is very rare on the Riverworld, everyone who possesses it, will have a big advantage over his enemies.
The choice of Clemens as a leader of this venture is perfect considering his vast experience in building and piloting riverboats on the Mississippi. But before that can be accomplished, he must ward off multiple hostile ‘countries’ who also want the iron – and must ally himself with one of the biggest villains in history, John Lackland (one of the historical kings of England). In the course of the events described in the book, we also meet other interesting characters from history including: Cyrano de Bergerac, the Nazi Hermann Goring, famous viking leader Odysseus, and more.
Although not a bad book, this is the weakest in the series. As before, the book is well written, and the historical characters are as fascinating. Sam Clemens makes a very interesting protagonist. However, the quest to obtain the iron and build a boat is not too interesting, and generally feels like a filler – something to delay the heroes until they can get their journey started.
If it were possible to skip this book, I’d say do so – as the next books are much better. But unfortunately it is a necessary element of the Riverboat saga, and so, definitely worth the effort.
If you’ve read this book, please vote below:
Tags: Being young again, Different planet, Futuristic being, Historical characters, Mystery