The Map of Time
By Felix J. Palma
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781439167397, June 2011, 624pp.)
The Short of It:
Victorian goodness with some sci-fi and mystery thrown in for good measure.
The Rest of It:
First, a bit about the story itself. Andrew Harrington has fallen in love with a prostitute by the name of Marie Kelly. Andrew comes from money, so falling in love with a working girl was not what his father had in mind. Nevertheless, he falls hard for her. Unfortunately, she is Jack the Ripper’s 5th victim and Andrew arrives too late to save her. Staggering away from the murder scene, he is stricken over what’s happened and plagued by his inability to save her.
Eight years later and influenced by books such as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, he decides to travel back in time to change Marie’s fate. What follows is a genre-bender like no other.
This book is either brilliant, or a total sham! At 624 pages, it starts off innocently enough, but then by the end of book one, it takes a completely different turn and then heads into the future with a new set of players. Although the story seems to shift underneath you, it’s clear that Palma has something up his sleeve and that the stories are in fact connected in some way.
This book is far from predictable. Every time I turned the page I pondered what just happened. Not because it was confusing in any way, but because I could not imagine how the author kept it all straight while writing the story. There are trips to the past, trips to the future, trips to parallel universes, there’s a murder (actually more than one), thuggery (I came up with that term), fraud, a budding romance…okay, more than one and appearances by all sorts of folks including: The Elephant Man, Henry James, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells himself.
When I say that this book was a wild ride through time… I am not kidding. It was an adventure and from those very first pages, I found myself hooked. Mainly because I HAD to know how it ended, plus I love Victorian London and sci-fi. However, by the end of the book I was left with my mouth gaping open. I read this with another blogger and we were both either incredibly impressed or royally ticked. We weren’t sure. I’m still not sure.
If you like the elements I mentioned, enjoy a genre-bender every now and then, and don’t mind being pulled through a lot of different subplots to partake in the adventure, then you’ll love this book. After spending some time thinking about it, I am leaning more toward it being brilliant, but it’s was a slow realization for me.
Note from Ti: The hardcover edition is GORGEOUS! The cover is partially matte, partially glossy which you can’t tell from the image. It also includes end papers depicting the Map of Time itself. It’s all very well done.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher.
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