Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Far Place in Time

A Far Place in Time
by Lee Cross

(Cauldron of Dreams Books / 0-978-75960-5 / 978-0-978-75960-5 / September 2006 / 232 pages / $13.95 / $11.86 Amazon)

Reviewed by Celia Hayes for PODBRAM

It seemed like the perfect job, for John Lander, an IT expert suddenly let go from a well-established and prosperous firm. He had gotten on well with the firm’s original founder, but when the old man retired and his daughter inherited the CEO’s office… well, John could see the writing on the wall. With a gambling problem and owing child support and alimony to a number of ex-wives, he desperately needed employment. An opportunity offered to him by old friend, Hank Martin seems just the ticket. Hank is a retired physics professor and he has a secret hobby. He is a man obsessed with the concept of traveling in time, and is working on a device to make it possible. Within a very short time, John begins to share that obsession. The present-day has little to hold him, so he does not mind being the guinea pig for Hanks’ test runs… which take him into Los Angeles of the early 1940s. While there, he is struck by the possibilities for raising funds necessary to continue Hank’s work. Why not buy memorabilia in the past, especially portable and ephemeral things like coins, comic books and trading cards, and bring it to the present for profitable resale? And knowing the results of sports events in the past – why not bet on them? A good idea, and John and Hank plan with care, down to every detail but one – a small but fatal detail overlooked, which eventually sends John, a 21st century man, on the run. He finds a refuge of sorts as a merchant seaman, on a ship in the middle of the Pacific, in the middle of a war.

Cleverly and classically, the book begins in the middle of the story, with John afloat on a raft with a handful of survivors, after his ship is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. This permits the story to unfold in two directions from that point, with just enough in the way of tantalizing hints sprinkled here and there. Also unfolding – besides some tense-making thriller elements – is a subtler story of John developing from the man that he is in modern times, to a finer and more responsible person. The twist at the end might be anticipated by readers with a taste for time-travel adventures, but the set-up for it is impeccable.

Lee Cross is a member of the Independent Authors’ Guild.
See Also: Celia's BNN Review
The Author's Website

No comments: