When physicist Michael Shelborne mysteriously vanishes, his son, Shel, discovers that he had constructed a time-travel device. Fearing his father may be stranded in time - or worse - Shel enlists Dave Dryden, a linguist, to accompany him on the rescue mission.
Their journey through history takes them from the Enlightenment of Renaissance Italy through the American Wild West to the civil rights upheavals of the 20th century. Along the way, they encounter a diverse cast of historical greats, sometimes in unexpected situations. Yet the elder Shelborne remains elusive. And then Shel violates his agreement with Dave not to visit the future. There he makes a devastating discovery that sends him fleeing back through the ages and changes his life forever.
©2009 Jack McDevitt; (P)2010 Tantor
"As the paradoxes begin to pile up and their luck in dodging some of history's villains runs out, McDevitt ingeniously handles a tricky denouement that will leave readers satisfied." (Publishers Weekly)
This book starts out fast and takes you for a wild ride. But this is a ride you will never want to get off! This is a wonderful listen, and I was motivated to purchase it in paper form. Well crafted and with an honest look at history, this book never fails to entertain while involving your intelligence to keep up.
Time travel is one of my favorite sci fi topics and historical fiction is one of my favorite fiction topics. This book is a 2fer. This story is rooted in the present but the forays of the main characters to the past are connected to real events, while the foray to the future offer great food for thought.
Live near Yosemite National Park. Listen to Audible books while hiking.
I like good sci fi, and this story is not bad. But the narrator, Paul Boehmer, has not learned his art. He reads very deliberately, as if he is reading to five year olds. This detracts from the story. Further, sound engineers and narrators of audio books do not appear to have yet figured out that most audio books are listened to in cars while people drive in noisy traffic. In Boehmer's case, he reads the narration at a normal level of speech, but he lowers his voice when he reads dialogue. This means you can't hear the story in car noise unless you are constantly raising the volume, then jumping to lower it when the normal sound level booms out. You'd think a producer would demand that his crew produce works with a range of sound that permits the listener to set his car radio volume at one level and forget it. As for the plot, the author did solve the time paradox. And also he made the interesting point that, because a time traveler can go into the future beyond his date of death, he never dies. One glaring omission in the story is a logical extension of the plot: The characters become so enthusiastic about time travel, they begin visiting all the famous people they can think of: Michelangelo, Galileo, the librarian at the ancient library in Alexandria, etc. Each time they are trying to find out if the famous personage was really as history portrayed him or her. In all this enthusiasm, they show zero interest in visiting the most famous man who ever lived. Was he as portrayed in written reports? Did he really say those things? Did he really mean them? No interest by the characters in this story. This indicates, in my view, a lack of courage by the author to deal with a logical end to the characters' quests and to write a story about the answers. Sad! However, this is not a bad story. Just be prepared for annoying sound level changes if you listen to it while driving!
Mom, married, website designer, portfolio manager in self-imposed exile (yeah Greg Smith!!), former California native, Episcopalian.
Let's start off with the first annoying thing about this book - the narrator. He's slow and his attempts at drama are about as palatable as 7th century communion hosts.
The plot devices at the climax are so.....adolescent. Hey. let's put the hero in this spot. How does he get out of it - the time device! Let's do it again! They have time wrapping around on itself so much, they just need some ripple ribbon to tie up the package.
The author presents some interesting issues regarding history and time travel. Sadly, he never mentions the most intriguing mysteries and controversies of history. It's not surprising that he wouldn't want the characters to investigate issues of divinity and historical accuracy. But he doesn't even bring them up in the course of the protagonists' conversations, like they didn't exist! The protagonists are supposed to be highly educated men. What are they thinking? This was very disappointing.
The author does some nice work introducing less well known points of history. I've considered getting the book for my teenage daughter, hoping it might spark interest in some ancient history or the life of Churchill. Or maybe not.
I guess the book was worth $5 (bought it through a audible sale). I wouldn't pay a full credit for it.
Singer (bass-baritone) Preacher, Bible Teacher, Baker, Process Server, Author, Woodcarver, Husband, Father
One of the best from Jack McDevitt
Dave. Unlucky in love but a true friend with unquestioning loyalty. I identify.
Yes, I like him; but he reads everything the same overly dramatic way. In my opinion, he needs to vary his delivery and save the drama for really dramatic moments.
It made me laugh in several places and the romantic occasions of unrequited love touched my heart. I found the historical references interesting and instructive.
Jack McDevitt is great...even in this departure from his space-based novels. The man knows how to write!
I got this book when I first started with Audible, one of their $4.95 books. I figured what the heck if I don't like it its only five bucks. I was pleasantly surprised, it was an interesting story with a twist. It's one I can listen to more than once.
Great narrator. I love this author. The premise of time travel is masterfully imagined and told in this book. I can't wait for Jack to write another.
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