The Philosopher's Flight by Tom Miller

The Philosopher's Flight

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. “Like his characters, Tom Miller casts a spell.” (Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Bookaneer)Eighteen-year-old Robert Weekes is a practitioner of empirical philosophy—an arcane, female-dominated branch o...

Details The Philosopher's Flight

TitleThe Philosopher's Flight
Release DateFeb 13th, 2018
PublisherSimon & Schuster
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews The Philosopher's Flight

  • Will Byrnes
    And what is empirical philosophy—what is sigilry—except a branch of science that we don’t yet fully understand? There’s no dark art to it; it’s nothing more than the movement of energy to produce a physical effect. The human body provides the power, while the sigil, drawn sometimes with beads of water, sometimes with cornmeal or sand, catalyzes the movement. You can do a thousand useful things: make a plant grow larger and faster; send ...
  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    WWI era setting + science that looks like magic, and it's a field practiced and controlled almost exclusively by women. Review to come.
  • Mike
    This was excellent, and I'm really glad I took the risk with it. It was recommended by a fellow writer on a forum we both frequent, and when I saw it was on Netgalley I picked it up. My big concern was that the genderflip inherent in the premise - women are, for unexplained reasons, the best at magic, and a young man tries to establish himself among them during the period of the First World War - could so easily have gone terribly wrong. (I'm thi...
  • R. Bonne
    Robert “Boober” Weekes is one of a few male philosophers. His mother is a famous war veteran transporter, and he aspires to become the same, despite the limited capability of his gender.This book was fun, despite how harsh the gender politics came across during the first half. Eventually, the alternate history/reality unfolds and makes sense. Recommend! Thanks to Netgalley for access to the advance copy in exchange for an unbiased review.
  • Rachel Stansel
    This is one of the most fun books I have read this year. A unique alternate history where "philosophers" use special combinations of chemical or compounds to do what we would consider magic. Smokecarving, hovering, transporting and lots more. Women are the lead sigilists with some men having basic abilities. Robert is the son of one such woman, but he gets the chance to show he is just as capable. Throw in their enemies, traditionalists men who w...
  • Travis
    I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley, but my opinions are my own......And my opinion is: Mr. Tom Miller needs to write more books in this world! This is a 4.5 rounded up. The only reason it isn't a solid 5.0 is because I wanted the plot and story to cover a little bit more ground, but I expect that this is the first in a projected series. If you liked the depth and texture of Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, then this is t...
  • Koeur
    2017-11-20 SimonPublishing Date: February 2018ISBN:9781476778150Genre: FantasyRating: 4.4/5Publishers Description: 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...
  • Simone
    I honestly and truly wished I loved this book. I felt like there's a lot of potential for it being a great series, but after only reading the first novel from both the author and the series I wasn't all too excited. This was definitely more like Harry Potter where magic (also known as Empirical Philosophy) exists alongside the very real world. This "magic" is not inherited, but learned and anyone can basically pick it up. It requires the use of s...
  • Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
    Review to come!
  • Laura LVD
    I know I'm in the minority here, but didn't like it. I give two stars because it's really well written, but couldn't connect with the story at all. Sorry, but couldn't suspend my disbelief for one moment. I found the use of certain words irritating ("Sapphist", "cartogramancer" for example, why choose so many archaisms, euphemisms and invented words?) and the weird physics was too much for me (Example "at the same time you're braking, you are als...
  • Brittany
    MUST READ! I LOVED this book! It was so refreshing and such a new concept. Women have this ability to be great philosophers in terms of basically making magic happen through the act of drawing sigils. Men, however, are just not that great at it...they're even more terrible at being able to fly. And I mean fly, literally...not in an airplane...but like just them with a harness, some bags of powder, and drawing sigils. But then comes along Robert.....
  • Out of the Bex
    In a world much different, yet entirely similar to our own, debut author Tom Miller crafts a story for the ages.Between a spellbinding front and back cover, 405 pages explore artfully crafted characters and phenomenal world-building. The play between science and magic introduces a myriad of previously unexplored technologies, inventions, and unique perspectives. Additionally, Miller’s choice to experiment with an alternate reality where standar...
  • Rachel
    Really good books grab hold of you and don’t let you go, even after you close the cover. I have a feeling this one is going to stick with me for a while. It is not at all what I expected. As the description indicates, it’s part alternative history of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly the beginning of WWI, and part coming-of-age story for Robert Weekes, a male skilled in a female dominated branch of science/magic. The world ...
  • Loring Wirbel
    Who would expect an ER doctor with an MFA, on his first novel-length outing, to offer up a trilogy combining elements of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the marvelous 2016 Stephenson/Galland Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. novel, and even the joint William Gibson/Bruce Sterling novel The Difference Engine? Yep, Miller gives us a little bit of alternative history, a whole lot of witchcraft, and a leavening of sexual role reversals. The action takes...
  • Abi (The Knights Who Say Book)
    *I received an advance reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*I HAVE A HEADACHE (unrelated to this book) SO LET'S GET THIS OVER WITH QUICKLY. (lmao this is me from the end of the review adding on: i did not get this over with quickly)The Philosopher's Flight is weirdly good. The magic system is super there (it's just... very there. It's there, guys.) and the complexity of the characters was unexpected and cool. Unexpectedly coo...
  • Jennifer
    What a great book.You may go this story into expecting a straight up "person on the outside attempts to enter a world that has been traditionally closed off to them." And this book does cover that territory, and covers it well. It's fascinating to see a man grapple with the same B.S. women have historically dealt with in fields dominated with men. However, this book ALSO explores something else too. In this fantasy world, even though women have g...
  • Barb
    Trying to like this book, but finding it a bit challenging. I know, I know. The other reviews are great. And while I promise to come back when I've finished and layer more review on top of this brief one, I have some pet peeves for now. The main one is the use of unknown words that made me have to stop reading to go look them up. Emanuensis? Stasied? Never did find what that meant. Why not just say secretary? The other peeve was character develop...
  • Linda
    In this alternate history set in the World War I era, Philosophers, those with special powers, are all female, until Robert comes along and stirs things up. Their enemies, the Trenchers, seem vaguely reminiscent of unhinged Trump supporters. I am a fan of contemporary fantasy, and alternate history authors like Jasper Fforde, so I really wanted to like this novel. Sadly, I was disappointed. The plot was hard to follow, the majority of the charact...
  • Kay
    This book will hook you and keep you reading. Fantastic story, relatable characters, and world building the likes of which you don't often see. Definitely recommended!
  • Kathy Martin
    This is a story of alternate history with magic. Robert Weekes has a goal of joining the US Sigilry Corps Rescue and Evacuation Service. He has a number of obstacles in his path. First of all, he is male and empirical philosophy and sigilgry is a predominantly female pursuit. Second, he is stuck in rural Montana assisting his war hero mother who is the Empirical Philosopher for her region of Montana. One night Robert is drafted to fly with his mo...
  • Mike
    4.5 out of 5 starsMy thanks to Edelweiss/NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.In the midst of World War I, society grapples with the proliferation of Empirical Philosophy or “sigilry”, an art form that allows users to summon wind, carve smoke, or fly through the sky. Opponents of the field denounce and demonize these practitioners, as they seek to eradicate their kind from the face of the ea...
  • Jackie
    I was not sure what to expect when given a chance by the Publisher and Netgalley to download a digital ARC copy of this particular book.As a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi the book description sounded challenging as well as interesting so gave a new-to-me author a chance. Happily that idea was a sound one as the story engrossed me from beginning to end despite the fact it held many characters and many situations that were a stretch to find credibl...
  • Wendy
    I liked the characters a lot, but the world felt a bit off, and a little derivative of other things (there were a few things that, were I the editor, I would have suggested be changed). That said, I read through to the end and I'm curious where he'll take it next.
  • CJ
    Have you ever wondered how magic would play into our daily lives? Or how much easier it would be to travel if we could all just fly? Or how much less painful it would be if you could get a tattoo without having to sit through hours of needle poking? Whether you’ve asked yourself these questions or not, this novel will answer them for you. In this historical fantasy set in WW1 America, Miller combines magic and science to create something new: E...
  • Cynthia
    What a delightful surprise this book was! I loved the gender-bending, alternate reality mixed with historical fiction. Seems like a tall order to get all that into a single compelling narrative, but Tom Miller pulls it off beautifully. I'm looking forward to reading more about Robert Weekes and his compatriots. I highly recommend picking this one up!
  • Ricky
    The comparisons to Deborah Harkness and especially to Lev Grossman make a lot of sense for Tom Miller's debut, for which I was lucky enough, in my duties as a Stanford Bookstore associate, to have acquired an ARC. Though less romantic than Harkness and (mercifully) less grimdark than Grossman, The Philosopher's Flight is a well-crafted piece of alternate history that nevertheless doesn't feel quite so alternate. More like reflecting the present d...
  • Tom Donaghey
    THE PHILOSOPHER’S FLIGHT by Tom Miller is a brilliant debut novel from this emergency room doctor turned writer. Set during the time of World war One, this alternate reality tale has magic as a normal, day to day thing. Women are much better Sigilrists than men, but some men do have a little ability in casting spells for growing plants faster and bigger, transporting people instantly, or in the case of Robert Weeks, whose memoir this is, flying...
  • Emma
    I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. Overall I thought it was really good, especially for a debut novel. I would not have guessed that this was Miller's first book. I found the characters to be likable but not too perfect and the gender dynamics to be really interesting. Occasionally the sexist complaints that the main character faces (women don't want to share their locker room with him, people in the R&E Corps say he will be a dis...
  • Jane
    This is a solid fantasy, with decent world-building and alternative history in the Victorian/WWI era in which women can draw “Sigils” in the air to access abilities such as flight. And, it’s a solid debut novel. I definitely wanted to finish it. This world where women can outdo men in many ways is introduced through young Robert Weekes, whose mother is a decorated flyer, legendary in war efforts and in rescues. He is one of the few men who ...