King Louis XIV of France seems popular in science fiction these days. He is the subject of both a new movie, The Man in the Iron Mask, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Vonda McIntyre's most recent science fiction novel, The Moon and the Sun. Now J. Gregory Keyes, author of the new classic, The Waterborn, mixes Sir Isaac Newton, King Louis XIV, King George I, and Benjamin Franklin in a philosophical, fantastical search for truth, beauty, power, and fabulous wealth. In Newton's Cannon, it's 1681, and scientist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton has turned his talent to his first love the ancient art of alchemy. Newton achieves the impossible by unleashing Philosopher's Mercury, a source of matter and a key to manipulating the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. King Louis and King George battle for its control, and as English armies march on Paris, King Louis calls for a new weapon, a device known only as Newton's Cannon. It is a machine whose secrets the beautiful and talented Adrienne de Montchevreuil labors to unlock before it's too late.

Meanwhile, in Boston, a young apprentice named Benjamin Franklin discovers a deadly enigma. Pursued by his enemies, Ben furtively makes his way to England. Only Newton can save him, but Newton needs saving himself. This scintillating and brilliant new novel confirms Keyes as a rapidly rising star in the science fiction firmament.

Reviewed by Larry Woods.

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