Two parts Harry Potter and one part Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Philosopher’s War is a thrilling, epic historical fantasy that melds science and magic into a single extraordinary art — heralding a major new voice in literary fiction. “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 an empirical philosopher — he practices an ancient, female-dominated branch of science indistinguishable from magic.
Though he dreams of fighting in the Great War as the first male in the Elite United States Sigilry Corps, Robert is resigned to mixing batches of silver chloride and keeping the books for the family business in rural Montana. But when a deadly accident puts his philosophical abilities to the test, Robert wins a scholarship to study empirical philosophy at Radcliffe College. Far from home, Robert hones his skills — hovering, smoke carving, and stasisry — and struggles to earn the approval of his all-female classmates, including Danielle Hardin, a disillusioned young war hero turned political radical. They begin a tenuous romance, but Danielle’s activism and Robert’s recklessness attract the attention of a fanatic anti-philosophical group. With his life in mounting danger, Robert strives to find his place in the struggle for philosophers’ rights at home and abroad.
In the tradition of Lev Grossman and Naomi Novik, Tom Miller is a writer with unrivaled imagination, ambition, and talent. His wondrous portrayal of America during the First World War reinvents history by weaving empirical philosophy into a magical, fantastical coming-of-age tale.
Tom Miller grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He graduated from Harvard University and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame, and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s War, he worked as a travel guidebook writer, EMT, college English instructor, and emergency room doctor. The Philosopher’s War is his first novel.