Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Time Travelers Never Die-Jack McDevitt

Time Travelers Never Die
Jack McDevitt
Ace, Nov 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780441017638

Michael Shelborne is a two time nominee for the Nobel Prize; a brilliant scientist in numerous fields until one day he disappeared without a trace. The mystery of his vanishing intensifies because the evidence looks as if he was home when he disappeared.

Michael’s lawyer gives his son Shel a letter that directs him to a rented mailbox where he will find three Q pods that he must destroy. Shel does not destroy them, but experiments with them to find out what happened to his dad. He learns they are tools that enable a person to travel through time. Shel decides to find his father and bring him home, but he will need to visit many lands in different eras. He confides what he knows to his friend linguistic expert Dave Dryden who he needs to help him with ancient languages. They travel back in time and see first hand major events, but finally catch up to Michael. However, the results of the reunion are nothing like what Shel or Dave expected. When Shel goes into the future, he discovers something that prevents him from returning to his time and to Helen the woman he loves.

This is a super time travel thriller that explains many of the logic paradoxes including being in the same general place at the same time, but does so in easy to understand language yet never dumbed down. That is the key to Jack McDevitt’s excellent tale filled with action in diverse eras, a strong lead pairing and a solid support cast. The search for Shel’s elusive father is enhanced by a who’s who of Western history as the hero gets a lesson in life especially when he breaks his pact with Dave and goes back to the future.

Harriet Klausner

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