In the year 2042, Sierra, a young graduate student in Classics is shown a new dialog of Socrates, recently discovered, in which a time traveler tries to argue that Socrates might escape death by travel to the future. Thomas, the elderly scholar who has shown her the document, disappears, and Sierra immediately begins to track down the provenance of the manuscript, with the help of her classical scholar boyfriend, Max. The trail leads her to a time machine in a gentlemen's club in London and in New York, and into the past, and to a time traveler from her future, posing as Heron of Alexandria in 150 AD.
Complications, mysteries, travels, and time loops proliferate as Sierra tries to discern who is planning to save the greatest philosopher in human history, or to do so herself. And she finds that time travel raises more questions than it answers. Fascinating historical characters from Alcibiades (of the honeyed thighs) and Thomas Appleton, the great 19th century American publisher, to Socrates himself, appear. With surprises in every chapter, Paul Levinson has outdone himself in The Plot to Save Socrates.
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"Light, engaging." (Publishers Weekly)
"A quick-to-read, entertaining treatment of the problems inherent in time travel with style and flair." (Booklist)
I did really enjoy this book. It does jump around a lot, and I found myself confused from time to time. I could forgive that though; you just have to suspend disbelief and roll with it. I would also recommend reading Plato's Crito first if you can; I had read it for an Ethics class so the context gave the book extra interest for me. It's fairly short and can be found on the internet. I would recommend this book if you enjoy time travel science fiction, with an intelligent female lead character, and interesting and orginal historical connections.
I respectfully disagree with the other reviewers. I was thoroughly caught up in the time travel twists and turns. The characters WERE interesting and I did care what happened to them. It's also a chance to pick up a little Greek history along the way. All-in-all this is one of the most intriguing time travel novels I've read and kept me guessing till the end.
The idea for this time travel story looked interesting, but the book rambled, poor characterization, as well as many sructural flow problems and logic did not abound. I was quite disappointed.
This story jumps around so much that it is difficult to follow. The characters are so one dimensional that you really don't care what happens to them, which is good because you are not going to know. Way too many loose ends. Don't bother.
This is a very good read, and very good look at history also. Not to mention fun at times. With some twists.
Time travel as a plot device can be tired, but this idea has a bit of originality to it--tied with the history of Greek philosophy. But mediocre writing (not awful but not good) made me bored enough that I haven't even finished it.
If you're not good at keeping up with movies that twist and turn, this book is not for you. A great fun read that keeps you moving through time and history and makes you constantly connect the dots, even as they circle back on themselves. Loved it!
WOW - that was fun trying to keep up with. The twists and turns gave a refreshing spin on my favorite topic - time travel.
I can see this one being made for film.
Production is good on this audiobook, as is narration. Shanahan does an admirable job, and with a few exceptions the music and effects are very unobtrusive.
However, the book itself is very deeply flawed. It's a shame, because I like the concepts on a high level. In the end, there are too many characters who are too poorly defined, and the structure is pretty awful. The end is, in particular, frustrating. It seems like Levinson knew how he wanted to tie his threads together but decided to do it in "exposition form" in a single chapter at the end with zero dramatic impact. The writing is, I suppose, attempting to seem a bit socratic with long interrogative and hypothetical conversations, but serves mainly to slow down and muddle the "plot" mentioned in the title. Having neither the "heroine" nor the "villian" appear in the final chapters further reduces any sense of climax.
I want to encourage this author, narrator and producers to keep working together, but Paul Levinson needs to sort his structure and pacing out!
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