When physicist Michael Shelborne mysteriously vanishes, his son Shel discovers that he had constructed a time travel device. Following his father’s trail through history-from the enlightenment of Renaissance Italy through the American Wild West to the civil-right upheavals of the 20th century-Shel makes a devastating discovery that sends him feeling back through the ages, and changes his life forever.
Review: 4 of 5 Stars
Some of this is going to sound contradictory since I have to say I waffled between 3 and 4 stars, but I’ll explain that along the way.
Personally, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great trip through history. A veritable what-if traveling list for time travel adventurers. I fully admit that I have a weakness for both time travel stories and history. Thus my first dilemma when rating this book as I would be the first in line if they were offering time travel cruises and I feel it may bias my views on this type of story.
The actual shell story wasn’t very important to my overall enjoyment of the book and it really wasn’t all that memorable for me aside from a few pieces. This was my second consideration and what almost made me give it a 3. However, what I found interesting was the time spent in the past, the discussions about who to go visit and why, and seeing historic people at historic events which was well done and entertaining. Mostly what I found appealing about this particular book was the opportunity for just a moment to transport yourself to those far away times and places to catch a glimpse of that time if even just through a fictional account. That pretty much sums up why I love time travel stories. I would have loved to have gone along on the adventure. For that moment of daydreaming I’m willing to overlook a lot as I don’t expect that these gentlemen will show up on my front porch with a spare device and an invitation for me to come along.
It’s nice when they try to explain how you get there and whatever the paradox theory is for a particular book. In this one it’s the cardiac effect, which basically means if you mess up the timeline in some way that you aren’t supposed to that you’ll have a heart attack and die. There’s one event of sorts, some later discussion about it, and then it’s brought back up a few times in the story. Overall though not much time is spent worrying about it by the characters so as a reader I didn’t either. They kind of say that something could be a problem and then go off on their adventures despite it. As a reader I followed suit and was swept away without much worry for the cardiac effect.
So I settled on a 4 because I love traveling through the ages. If you also enjoy visiting long ago people and places in this manner and don’t care to spend too much time on how the time travel actually works then I think you’ll enjoy this story vacation as much as I did. If you’re looking for something with hard scientific data to get you down the time tunnel you might want to look elsewhere. It was highly readable and I breezed right through it feeling refreshed from the adventure.