Tor/Angry Robot, out now
James Griffin-Mars has an unusual but vital job in 26th Century society – heading back into the past to retrieve items that will ensure the future of the human race. But he discovers to his cost that there’s a price for breaking the rules…
Wes Chu’s time travel extravaganza fulfils much of the potential that could be seen in his earlier trilogy of novels for Angry Robot. There’s perhaps less humour than in the Tao books, but the characterisation and action sequences are as sharp as readers have come to expect, and once again, he raises questions of morality and humanity in a fast-paced story.
Chu has a lot of different world-building in this book – not just the 26th century “present”, but the various time periods into which James travels. The former we see not just through the eyes of various key protagonists but also from a character brought forward from the 21st, giving the book a Brave New World feel for much of its middle section, which works well because we’ve accepted what we’ve been told about the world, and then have it challenged. He sets up some interesting questions about time travel and its physical and mental effects on those who cross the boundaries – not all of which are answered, so I’m hoping a sequel is underway.
Verdict: While a lot of familiar time travel tropes are present and correct, Chu uses them differently enough to make this book a highly enjoyable read. 8/10