The Philosopher's Flight: Book summary and reviews of The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller

The Philosopher's Flight

by Tom Miller

The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller X
The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller

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Book Summary

A thrilling debut from ER doctor turned novelist Tom Miller, The Philosopher's Flight is an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art.

Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy - an arcane, female-dominated branch of science used to summon the wind, shape clouds of smoke, heal the injured, and even fly. Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the elite US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service - a team of flying medics - Robert is resigned to mixing batches of philosophical chemicals and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana, where his mother, a former soldier and vigilante, aids the locals.

When a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert rises to the occasion and wins a scholarship to study at Radcliffe College, an all-women's school. At Radcliffe, Robert hones his skills and strives to win the respect of his classmates, a host of formidable, unruly women.

Robert falls hard for Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. However, Danielle's activism and Robert's recklessness attract the attention of the same fanatical anti-philosophical group that Robert's mother fought years before. With their lives in mounting danger, Robert and Danielle band together with a team of unlikely heroes to fight for Robert's place among the next generation of empirical philosophers - and for philosophy's very survival against the men who would destroy it.

In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness, Tom Miller writes with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and humor. The Philosopher's Flight is both a fantastical reimagining of American history and a beautifully composed coming-of-age tale for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Miller's imaginative debut reads like an American cousin to Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, filtering 19th and 20th century U.S....[T]he history of this alternate world and its magic tech are inventively executed." - Publishers Weekly

"A fun, fast-paced coming-of-age story laced with magic." - Kirkus

"The Philosopher's Flight has all the right ingredients to launch an epic story, bringing us into a vivid world rich with both history and imagination. Its narrative of magic warriors and healers feels remarkably grounded and authentic. Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell." - Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer

"In his first novel, Tom Miller creates a world that feels both fantastical and authentic, and he does it with a playful spirit and sharp wit. I'd follow his hero Robert Weekes anywhere. The Philosopher's Flight is deeply original, utterly transporting, and absolutely fun." - Janet McNally, author of Girls in the Moon

"Tom Miller is one of the rare literary geniuses I have read who possesses a sense of humor and The Philosopher's Flight displays both qualities in heady quantities. Go along for the ride and you will be stimulated, educated, as well as happily overcome by laughter." - William O'Rourke, author of Idle Hands and Criminal Tendencies

"Tom Miller's a sly wizard, reminiscent of L. Frank Baum on his best days, and The Philosopher's Flight is a thrill-a-minute, genre-busting display of narrative spells and delights." - Valerie Sayers, author of The Powers

"The Philosopher's Flight is a romp of a tale... it will launch a hundred thousand glyphs and sigils in every reader's imaginations." - Sheheryar B. Sheikh, author of The Still Point of the Turning World

"Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell." - Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer

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Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher's Flight, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT, and college English instructor. He's now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first novel.

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