Indie Book Review – Storm Portal by Michael R Stern

It’s time for another indie book review!. Read on and find out what Jay thought of Storm Portal, the first book in Michael R Stern’s Quantum Touch series.

It’s always fun to read a book that engages the author’s knowledge of a particular subject. Michael R. Stern is clearly as passionate about history as he is about writing. Storm Portal is laid out as the perfect stage for an epic adventure story about to launch. The main character wrestles with his responsibility to everyone around him in this first installment, weighing every possibility before moving ahead with deliberate care. This series promises to be fun to read and full of colorful facts about history and current events.

Fritz Russell is a school teacher that is getting a little burnt out on teaching. It has happened before; as a dedicated educator, he has always found a creative way to bring more life back into the classroom. This time nature steps in to solve the problem for him. First he is struck by lightning, and immediately becomes the talk of the school. He wants to get back to the kids as soon as possible; when he does, another surprise awaits. As he walks into what should be his classroom, he is instead transported back in time. Both he and his class find themselves face to face with Robert E. Lee.

As a history teacher, Fritz recognizes the scene and the man immediately. He proceeds to have a conversation with the general, and the kids relax enough to interact with a major figure from history. When the period ends, he invites the next class to join them. They talk with Lee for another class period, and everyone is amazed at the contact. Fritz does his best to keep the kids quiet about it, but talk begins between classes. By the time it happens again, each new group of students is bursting with anticipation.

This time it is not a pleasant chat with a calm and measured man that awaits them. It is historical tragedy, and they end up in the midst of it. The class is shaken by the experience, and Fritz is more baffled than before. Glad to have gotten them out of the situation safely, he puts his mind to work on understanding this surprise phenomenon. Everyone has questions, and he needs to put together answers for himself before he can present them to anyone. Fritz puts off the students, the principal and other teachers as he tries to formulate something.

And then he walks into the White House, present day. Everyone is shocked, including the President’s security. Before panic or gunfire breaks out, another measured conversation ensues. He brings the President through the portal, shows him around the school, and sends him back on his way. So now the town doesn’t just want to know what’s going on with Fritz; the President of the United States is curious as well. Some folks are even convinced that he might be a threat to national security; thinking it over, Fritz realizes that it could be true. He’s stuck trying to figure out how the portal works, how to answer everyone’s insistent questions, and how to avoid being exterminated by overzealous security agents. And he always thought time travel would be such fun.

Michael R. Stern has brought history to a new kind of life with this time travel adventure story. It’s clear that the time traveler in this story is well versed in history, excited to both teach and learn it. The question becomes more urgent as the story presses forward: will this knowledge tempt him to change history, and make it more to his liking? Is it a good thing if he figures this out? It’s fun to watch a teacher and a President both fumble for an answer that is clear to the careful reader from the beginning, complimenting each other on how smart they both are throughout. It’s important to show how hard it can be to see what’s right in front of us, even for the people insisting they should be in charge.

There are a lot of questions raised in this book that get answered; as they do, a new layer of questions reveals itself to pull the reader forward. Right up until the end, where you realize that this is likely to be a very enjoyable series to read.

Now is a great time to get a copy of Storm Portal for yourself – it’s on sale for just 99 cents until May 19th! Storm Portal at the Kindle store.

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