Unlike previous novels from Ben Elton, I found this to be well written, and with an intriguing story that kept me turning the page right to the end. Compared to Elton’s screen work, this feels more considered and intricate. It’s not a new trope that going back in time to change a single point of history to prevent bad things from happening may make things worse in the long run. I liked the alternative that was posed here.
The hero, ex-SAS widower Hugh Stanton is alone in the world and so is an ideal candidate for the “loop in time” that Newton discovered and left details of for Hugh’s Oxford professor (and others). He is trained, equipped, and sent back to prevent the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
Although I guessed who a supposed “mystery figure” was at one point, the plot didn’t feel predictable, and I was as un-nerved and taken aback by the ending as I think I was supposed to be. I liked that the baddies and goodies weren’t necessarily fixed as either one or the other, but that most of the characters that are introduced have layers and depending on your point of view could be either good or bad.
Even though I was left feeling a little depressed and lacking optimism generally, this is well worth a read in my opinion.
This review first appeared on The Book Gnome