Thursday, 12 May 2016

Book Reviews - Time after Time Ben Elton and The End Game Raymond Khoury

Time After Time - Ben Elton

This is a really terrific book.  Here's the simple question you are posed with "If you could go back in time and change one thing what would it be?"

Seems simple doesn't it.  However as ever total conjecture since time travel isn't available to us.  But... what if it were.  What if there was a place and point in time where you could go back?  This is the situation for our hero Hugh Stanton who is an ex-soldier and YouTube star of survival videos who is given the opportunity to do just that.

The point of incredulity, scientifically and historically is that Sir Issac Newton figured out all of relativity before he died and way ahead of Einstein.  He determined that some time loops overlap in a small fragment of space and time.  Name in Istanbul in 2025 and 1914.  So you can go back to 1914.  And do what?  Stop the first world war?  Seems logical.  So that is what Hugh is tasked to do by a group of boffins who know of Newton's secret.

It is a terrific book.  Not only is there all the historical element but the interesting juxtaposition of a 21st century guy going back 111 years into an Edwardian Europe.  How Ben plays some of that out is excellent and also the moral aspects of what he has to do as his mission, also remember that he shouldn't affect anything other than his mission.

The start of the book flips back and forth from 2025 to 1914 until you are firmly in 1914 with Hugh on his mission.  However the best bit comes towards the end when some terrible realisations come to dawn on Hugh and the whole book and your comprehension of it is brilliantly turned on its head right up to the climax.  Excellently written, esp the reveal which I can't tell you but becomes obvious once you get there and the penny drops in one sentence that Hugh says.  The final outcome is that you look on the 20th century history with a really different view and now if someone asked me if I could go back and change one thing what would I say or do?

So very nearly a two thumbs up with a grin ... maybe it is... go read it!

The End Game by Raymond Khoury.

I've liked some of Raymound's books - The Sign is brilliant.  The last in the Sean Reilly saga I felt went off the boil a bit.  This one more so sadly.  It is a ripping fast thriller which has our hero FBI agent Reilly being set up as a murderer by the shadowy spies who are of course doing what they do for the greater good.  There is some personal links into Sean's history and the last book in the series (Devil's Elixir) but it is all a bit too unbelievable.  Not only that there is some ludicrous double standards exposed in the hero.  He is angry at these agents for how they treated his family and others without due process of law etc. but in his revenge he acts just the same as they do.  That just couldn't be squared off in my thinking and to me the hero was as bad, if not worse than those he challenged.  Maybe that was Mr Khoury wanted the reader to feel/think but if so there was no response to your feelings in the narrative to allow you in some way interact with the character either to sense he knew that was so or that he was wrestling with his conscience in any way.

Sadly only a single thumbs up I'm afraid.

* Furtheron International Thumbs Up Book Review Scale -
lowest is both thumbs down with a frown
two thumbs down,
one thumb horizontal,
two thumbs horizontal,
one thumb up,
two thumbs up
two thumbs up with a grin - very rarely awarded

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