Michael R. Stevens
978-1-933515-77-9, $25.95, 2010
Editor and novelist Michael R. Stevens brings the currently red-hot subject of online gaming to life in his new book, “Fortuna”. Set in the Italian Renaissance city of Florence, the game, Fortuna offers an escape from the real world and the potential to amass a great deal of wealth. But for Jason Lind, it becomes an irresistible obsession. As he gets pulled into its alluring realm of secrets and money, he begins to realize that his actions in Fortuna have real life consequences. And exiting the game may not be as easy as turning off his computer…
Author Michael R. Stevens does an incredible job of balancing his plot and subplots without weighing down his overall novel. Each storyline carries its own importance while weaving seamlessly with other lines and are well-resolved by the end. Full of vibrant detail and a robust Tuscan flavor, “Fortuna” delivers a thrilling saga that will keep you guessing. Steven’s supporting characters give just enough information to be interesting while leaving you to wonder, ‘who is really involved here?’ In a game where ‘World of Warcraft’ meets Renaissance Italy, nothing is certain.
I was, however left with one minor question at the end of the book. On page 166, the protagonist’s real name, and not his game designation, was used while active in-game. Players are given period-appropriate names and identities to interact with to protect their anonymity and Fortuna’s programming evicts anyone attempting to give a real name or contact information. This use of his real name was neither noted by the protagonist nor explained later in the story by the author. Was it proof that his real identity was known online even though he didn’t react to it or was it simply a typo?
“Fortuna” will appeal to those aficionados of suspense, high-tech thrillers, and even historical fiction books. A perfect new addition to Oceanview Publishing’s catalog, fans of such authors as Deborah and Joel Shlian, Linda Reid, Mark Terry, John F. Dobbyn, Patricia Gussin, and H. Terrell Griffin are sure to add Michael R. Stevens’ name to their list. As addicting as a real online game, “Fortuna” delivers.