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While the premise of going back in time to alter history isn't new, the author's skill in its presentation coupled with his unique insights will satisfy science fiction and history buffs as well as anyone with an eclectic taste for literature. Indeed, this story possesses the makings of a classic. It's highly intelligent, flawlessly edited, and I love the author's straight-forward yet ethereal style which flows with the essence of timelessness that you'd expect in a book that involves time travel. His skillful writing combined with the fact his name is a pseudonym leaves the impression that he may, indeed, be a time traveler himself. The title is perfect, a thought-provoking glimpse of the nature of time and how far it could be stretched were it breached or controlled, the scope of its content undoubtedly epic.
As this tale begins, time travel has already been achieved and a multi-disciplined committee of academics privy to the technology directs its use to keep humanity's history on the proper track. Three previous attempts didn't work out as hoped, but the problems have supposedly been solved by scientist, Lawrence Henry, a.k.a. Hank, whose breakthrough discovery removes the troublesome paradoxes. Thus, Hank and his fiance, Frances Newton, set out to establish humanity in a New Historical Age.
Those with whom they interact see them only as a very tall, mysterious gentlemen and a red-headed woman who serendipitously slip into their respective eras at historically important times. Each fable is independent and captures a nexus where a decision made by an individual, some famous historical figures, others not, takes the world in a new direction. These included encounters with Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, King Henry VIII, Marcellus and Archimedes. As a reader I was immersed in the flavor of the moment and felt as if I was observing a profound moment in history unfold.
Events prior to those in recorded history were touched on as well, such as the invention of writing and numbers, the wheel, the transition to an agrarian society and even a new look at man's best friend. The episodes operate on multiple levels which will satisfy casual readers as well as history lovers or those with philosophical tendencies. Each carefully selected situation demonstrated the author's thorough understanding of history, was well researched, and included some little known facts packaged as a tremendously enjoyable story stylishly written. I haven't read the preceding volumes in the Elastic Limit series, but this one stood well on its own while nonetheless leaving me with the desire to read the previous volumes, which this one ties together.
Marcha Fox is an avid science fiction fan and author with over 20 years experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. You can find her at www.StarTrailsSaga.com.
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