Chief Terry Myell died and became a god. Now he’s back to life, careening around space and time at the behest of a voice that told him to save all of mankind. Helping and hindering this quest are his elderly wife, his young wife, grandchildren who haven’t been born yet, romantic rivals he hasn’t even met, a descendant from two thousand years in the future, and an alien nemesis who calls itself the Flying Doctor. Life in the military has never been so complicated.
Commander Jodenny Scott would agree. She’s seven months pregnant and trying to come to peace with her husband’s death. When Myell reappears with tales of time travel, she’s not sure what to believe.
But with an invading army bearing down on Earth’s last fleet of spaceships, there’s not much time for debate. When the dust clears Jodenny is stranded in an Australia she never imagined, and Myell’s more desperate than ever to rescue her—from aliens, from treachery, and from history itself.
Yay! I can write about the time travel! Because ultimately, that's what makes this book so deliciously fun.
I love time travel fiction. When Back to the Future came out, my husband and I must have seen it in the theater at least ten times. And many times after that on various forms of video. Now we have the boxed set.
Where to start? My friend and blog buddy Kimber An is going to think this is the answer to her book prayers. I'm not sure if she'll like the first book, but if she can get through the first and second, she'll flip out over the third. It features a pregnant heroine who is part of a happily married--if often separated--couple. And midway through the book--while she is unexpectedly centuries in the past--she finds herself acting as a midwife! Courtesy of her Digital Doula--yes, you read that right--she's an expert on childbirth. And darn it if those nineteenth century women have all kinds of crazy notions about pregnancy and giving birth.
Do you get the notion that this book is different yet? And, if I might use the same words as many reviewers before me, it is fresh, original and probably like nothing you've read in science fiction before.
Ok, I'd better get serious about this review.
It picks up right where The Stars Down Under left off. If you haven't read that novel before, I'm afraid the blurb above is a bit of a giveaway. But it really would not have been possible to write the blurb without giving away the fact that Terry is back. And he's not a god anymore. As it turns out, that was a Terry from a different timeline.
All those time travel rules you read about in other stories? Forget about them. Ms. McDonald has figured out a neat way around the problems of time travel in a totally plausable way. Well, plausable in a world that includes time travel.
Anyway, Terry is stuck in a time loop and is trying to find his way out. You feel for the guy. It's maddening, kind of like that loop in the movie Groundhog Day, except this look jumps him to different points in time. Always near Jodenny. Who sometimes doesn't even know who he is, or doesn't believe its him, depending on when he goes to.
And just when you reach the point where it is starting to get too maddening, he gets a bit of a break. Ms. McDonald really has great timing in this case.
Before I get carried away by too much gushing (or is it too late?), let me get some critiques out of the way. One of them is that a character keeps urging Terry on, but is unable to help him out with any specific instructions. He basically appears to Terry long enough to complain that he should have figured it all out by now. This is a plot device I've seen before--some sort of Seer who has knowledge that he cannot reveal to the reader because it would make the story end too quickly. Now in this case, I didn't want the story to end too quickly. But it was still a small annoyance.
Well, I guess it was only one critique. I can't remember the others, if I had any.
I'm already way over wordcount and I haven't even mentioned Sam Osherman. I'd better stop here.
This is a science fantasy novel with a great mythology, a fun plot and likable heroes and heroines. The pages just flew by. The end of the novel brings this storyline to a close, but leaves other questions unanswered, which might be answered in future books.
And when Kimber finds out what Terry and Jodenny names the baby, I do believe she will scream out loud.
The novel at Tor
Heather's Author Supernova on Sandra McDonald at Galaxy Express (still in-process, so the link is to the site)