The introductory chapters of Robert Maxxim’s ambitious fantasy novel Legacy read like a religious revelation, a spirit that infuses much of this tale.
Before the author starts spelling out a complicated story that encompasses interstellar travel, past lives and aliens, Maxxim details a very personal journey. It’s not the stuff of your ordinary preface. He speaks of firsthand visions of alien planets and past lives; he ticks off experiences with New Age philosophies and churches. Finally, he offers readers an outline of his own belief system, one that features intergalactic soul mates and past lives spent on Mars.
That dense introduction plays a central part in Maxxim’s complex and in-depth sci-fi saga. As he spells out the tale of a military geologist working on Mars in 2058, his philosophical treatise starts to play out in a narrative form. The story is narrated by the main character. As he unearths the ruins of an ancient Martian civilization, he starts on a path of discovery that eventually reveals past lives and deeds.
These discoveries come as the protagonist “Sarge” builds relationships with native Martians and delves into a personal history that stretches back millions of years. Maxxim offers detailed diagrams of recovered Martian spaceships and exhaustive histories that play out far into the cosmos.
The action constantly returns to the philosophical cornerstones spelled out in the first chapters. Maxxim finds opportunities to detail his complex beliefs throughout the narrative, and the effect can be exhausting. Thankfully, the author’s precise narrative style helps balance out that effect. Maxxim writes with authority, offering clean text, a poetic sensibility and compelling descriptions.
Even so, those skills only go so far in making the denser stretches readable. Fans of sci-fi and New Age philosophy will find an interesting marriage of the disciplines here, but casual readers may be easily deterred by the complex preachiness of these 400-plus pages.
Also available in hardcover.