A split narrative story with one storyline in an alternative universe analogous to Earth’s eighteenth century (with several notable differences) and the other in the supposed twenty-second century of this Earth. The eighteenth century world is easier to believe. The other seems very twenty first century. Both exhibit a high school understanding of physics and politics. Reads as if written ten years ago. Numerous cameos by historic persons. Both heroes are pigheaded fools, a danger to all around them.
Quibbles: 22nd century personal devices “might double as a radio transmitter”? Most devices do that today. A space ship which lands on its main engines will not be “recoverable.” (See cover art) Moderns are distinguished by their profanity. By 2136, space meals will probably be gourmet quality, not “scrambled tofu.” “All the whistles and bells” is twentieth century jargon. A space ship in the midst of atmospheric braking is unlikely to be hit “midsection.” Would people performing said atmospheric braking wander around their ship in shirt sleeves or be in their pressure suits strapped down in the safest part of the ship?
Three stars is a gift.