Within the pages of The Stratus Estate the author will take the reader to many different worlds that might be in the 17th century according to the timeline and dates given but in reality the scenes, the advances technology and the situations far surpass our technology today and ask these questions: Just what you do living in a world that is not that much different than ours yet enables you to fly where you want and I don’t mean by plane alone, hear the voices and thoughts of others and learn more about the Red Planet and our own planet where people live or come from Mars and travel to what the author has created New New York and the issues that are no different than the ones we face today. Our narrator on this journey into this world is Phillip Stratus who reminds us of the struggles faced by not only teens but adults too and the prejudice, racism and many different cultural aspects of the societies created by the author as we travel back yet forward in time. The illustrations of the human, animal and other characters what headline each chapter sets the stage for many different experiences including taking us into the age of different dinosaurs and other animals that we would otherwise never get to know. Imagine a world where people are arrested and jailed for simple infractions such as not wearing weights to keep you from defying gravity ad Phillip’s father is incarcerated on their trip off planet. Living with his adoptive family who are as the blurb on the back of the book states, are powerhouse players in the City of Tarkenwore which is his home town and his best friend who takes the journeys along with him Vive Tarekwore who is the next heir to the throne of Earth. The daughter of Queen Nacethelian and King Hasarmelis, hugely tall and who have rules the Earth for almost 2000 years. The problems they face are no different than the ones teens face today but the solutions are unique to our way of handling things but Phillip and Vive are vibrant characters who are flawed in some respects yet handle difficult situations in an adult manner. Taking us into the unusual classroom with his teacher Ms. Pythagoras whose lessons require much thought and thinking and then with Phillip’s parents who insist they travel to New New York and the pathways they follow this novel teaches many lessons that teens in our present time will identify with as Phillip and Vive meet different species, the Ambassador of their kind and the fact the Ambassador might hold the key to getting his father out of jail but when the truth comes out and why he is really there it sounds like something right out of our headlines today especially when his incarceration deals with Sanctions placed on one planet.
The author introduces us to the many family members of the Stratus family but it gets interesting when Phillip’s father decides along with his mother to have him and Vive joining him on a trip to New New York where they learn the major prejudices and differences between Martian Americans and other races. One chapter focuses on a dromaesaurs one of the larger individuals turned to the encroachers and emitted a deafening screech causing both Vive and Phillip to clap their hands to their ears. The chapter continues to explain the Giganotosaurus pack and he and Vive witnessed some unusual habits of both of these plus lion prides would use their superior size to get the fresh meals from hyenas.
June 14, 1607 he learned about New New York and more about America and why the dynamo of the Martian cores stopped and ceased 400 billion years ago which is the force behind plate tectonics and stating that Mars as we would know it in our world as the Red Planet because the prevalent iron oxide in the soil was visible from Earth. We also learn that the first people to live on Mars were doctors and scientists who lived in enclosed biospheres until it became clear life would not last on Earth and all the nations had to pool their resources to terraform Mars. The rest of page 179 explains it more in detail. The author goes on the explain how and why the people of Mars are not like Phillip and Vive and they need to keep that in mind when they are there. Arriving there his father explains that they will have to deal with the racism, prejudice and the differences in the length of the day and the other rules that they need to know including wearing weighted clothing and shoes or they will otherwise get shriveled and their hearts would be weakened. They need to carry water with them at all times and the rest is quite graphically explained on pages 182-183. The chapter continues with a description of the parks, the terrain, the skyscrapers and more and they would learn more about the commercial city. They also need to wear weighted down vests under their shirts and the New New Yorkers have incorporated the weights directly into their clothing making it part of their fashion. They ate ice cream and their appearances matted as the A Martian American is a bit shorter and rounder that the Marinerans,
The Ambassador was noted to be on some kind of cruise but when his dad is arrested she is no where to be found and they have to use other resources hoping to get him out but it gets complicated.
Meet Dirk who they pay a huge sum of money to help them find out more about their father’s incarceration, how to find Tesla who is missing. The author brings in lacking nymphoctye technology Martians are unable to sync their brainwaves to external frequencies to the extent that is needed for neural communication. Surgical alteration of the body for any purpose other than medical is frowned up even on Earth. Mayor Jameson called on behalf of the Terra man a Mr. Tesla Stratus who is being held at the New New York police station and he was hoping to negotiate his release. But the charges are strong and Mr. Mayor said it is not illegal to neglect to wear personal weights within a person’s own residence but they would not hear of it and he remained confined. Vive and Phillip contemplating asking Hecate to take him where he needed to go. Finding themselves in front of a door with an ornate flower and not a person’s name the elevator opened and what they saw was a checkered marble floor and on top was a copper seal. Vive is the heir to the throne of Earth. But, things get complicated when Phillip and Vive devise a plan to get his father out of jail even though he made him promise to not interfere. But, typical good son or teenager he and Vive contrive with the help of Dirk who is a shady character, a plan to get is father out. Laws are present even in this realm and for killing their people they would be subject to torture and experiments that would be more painful before they are terminated. But, they come across Rats that live where they are in Mars and they asked that they find a way to get them out before they are extinct. Somehow they can communicate with Phillip but they are prepared to die rather than go back to Mars. Bringing it back to the fact that eh Queen and King are out of realm which is odd and they cannot get his father out as a diplomatic prisoner in retaliation for the sanctions. Wait until you find out what they do to create a diversion to attempt to free him but first let’s not lose sight of the fact that both Vive and Phillip have volunteered at a soup kitchen to help Martha who hates everyone but for some reason allows them to remain but hidden in the back but her final fate you will learn because even on this New New York there are people that commit crimes equal to on our own Earthly planet. Madame Ambassador will she help? Will they make their flight back in time to free his dad? Things get out of control and the final outcome you will never learn from me as it is against Martian and the rules of where Vive and Phillip come from to divulge any secret plans. When breaking rules after traveling through air space and hoping to get home for not listening wait until you find out what Phillip is in store for. Will he face being grounded forever? What happens during his attempt to get his father out and further down the line when they and if he does return home? The issues of prejudice, racism, wrongly accused, teen pranks, understanding, tolerance, friendship and family loyalties are all brought to light whether you are in our realm or their realm but this story is just the beginning as there is much more that he is in store for and only author M.Cote Warner knows that is next for both Vive and Phillip as he learns something about himself that will change everything for him forever. Great characters that interact and a plot that could easily be a made for T.V. movie. Enter the world of Phillip and his family and go back and forward in time and visit THE STRAUS ESTATE!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine