3 out of 4 stars
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Time travel is nearly a universal fascination. What if we COULD travel backward or forward in time? Much ink has been spilled dealing with potential ramifications and philosophical issues. The Mantle of Khronos is a science fiction novel dealing with time travel, but not in a familiar fashion. I found the book's concept of portals to be new and intriguing. However, the scientific explanations of much of this were mostly lost on me. While this did not hinder my overall enjoyment of the book, someone else might have difficulty.
One of the main characters, Hunter, has noticed strange happenings in the area surrounding his home. He summons his cousin, Romy, to aid in deciphering the puzzle. Landslides, strange futuristic-like objects found in apparently centuries-old lava formations, odd weather, and other circumstances make for quite the mystery. A nearby farmer tells them his cows have been disappearing. The town’s resident police detective, Sergeant Dissett becomes involved. Unfortunately, no one is able to decipher what is really happening. A lot of energy is expended deciding if time travel is indeed possible, even in theory.
Soon, the plot plunges into a classic race between good and evil, with a significant twist coming from the inability of the reader to easily know who the real “bad guys” are. I don’t mind the author being nebulous on this. I feel that was one factor that kept my attention throughout the entire book. The biggest hindrance to the plot was the increasing amount of characters that kept showing up. By the time I reached the last chapters, I was having difficulty knowing who everyone was. It was obvious that at least one party was acting nefariously, but it was nearly impossible to tell who, as nearly every character was shrouded in at least a little mystery. Much of the plot involves a race to be first through the time portal. I can’t say a lot more about the time portal, lest I give away serious spoilers, but everyone had their own reason to be first.
The author threw in some major plot twists toward the end, helping to build suspense and propel the story forward to the climax. I appreciated the way the author tied up loose ends at the very end. The author was also kind enough to leave clues to the possibility of sequels while simultaneously avoiding major cliffhangers. Additionally, the editing is clean. Overall, I enjoyed the author’s pace and his dialogue. The book is somewhat low on character development but high in energy.
If you are looking for a new science fiction concept, you should find this to be an interesting read. I would have no trouble recommending it to audiences of any age unless someone’s enjoyment requires a full understanding of how the alternate reality works. All in all, I will give this 3 out of 4 stars. I would rate it higher if I had been better able to follow all the characters and understand the concepts.
The Mantle of Khronos
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