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The Depths of Time (Bantam Spectra Book) Mass Market Paperback – June 26, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Spectra Book
  • Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (June 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553574973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553574975
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In an era when time travel is essential to interstellar transport, keeping the past from learning the future is the Chronologic Patrol's prime directive. Anton Koffield, captain of the Upholder, one of two Patrol ships protecting the Circum Central timeshaft wormhole, becomes the first person ever to act to preserve causality. Incomprehensible Intruders destroy Koffield's sister ship and cripple his own as they battle through the time shaft the wrong way, from "downtime" (the past) to "uptime." As a fleet of cargo ships heading toward a failing terraformed planet approaches Circum Central for safe passage, the Intruders return, and Koffield collapses the timeshaft to prevent them from returning to the past. The cargo ships are destroyed, the planet never receives its relief supplies and Koffield is stranded in the future with his crew, who have fingered him as the murderer of a world. Forced into isolation by the Patrol, which simultaneously hails him as a hero, Koffield stumbles upon proof that all of humanity's terraformed worlds are doomed to catastrophe. He must overcome his villainous status, pervasive guilt and a second time-stranding to convince others of the danger, even as he uncovers mysteries yet more profound, and a megalomaniac's master plan. With its well-rendered hero and supporting cast, Allen's (The Game of Worlds) latest resists slipping into melodrama. The thoroughly practical use of time travel coupled with visceral evocations of the logical complications of becoming lost in one's own future ground the novel scientifically and emotionally. Slyly, Allen wraps up his story with a maddeningly provocative ending that all but ensures a sequel and another meeting with the intriguing Koffield. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Allen meets his usual high standard in this far-future combination of speculative hard science, social sf, and pure adventure. It employs the standard sf device of wormholes, but instead of permitting interstellar travel, these wormholes allow time travel. When Captain Koffield of the Chronologic Patrol ship Upholder discovers an outbreak of piracy and would-be wormhole hijackers, he seems to have no choice but to destroy the wormhole to the planet Solace. This isolates the planet; maroons Koffield 80 years in the future; brings him in conflict with terraforming scientists and the population of Solace, which he may have doomed in trying to save it; and generally puts the tale's whole cast up to their stern sheets in alligators. Allen handles this sort of thing as well as anyone in the business, producing a highly readable balance of characterization, graceful and sometimes witty prose, and thoroughly, intelligently developed ideas that don't slow the pacing. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

His characters are very likeable and believeable.
BlazeEagle
I felt sorry for Koffield, but I never really liked him or cared what happened to him.
Kyle Jones
At little over one hundred pages into this book, I stopped reading it.
Ronald T. Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on February 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Roger MacBride Allen's intriguing, fast-paced novel posits a far future in which the colonized galazy, filled with terraformed worlds, is linked by timeshafts. With their crew in cold sleep, interstellar ships travel for decades to enter temporal wormholes which put them at their destinations days after leaving. These timeshaft are vigilantly guarded against time paradoxes by the Chronologic Patrol and the first 80-page action-packed segment pits the Patrol against mysterious "Intruders" invading the wormhole, attacking the patrol and threatening the inviolate chronology of time.
Battered and stranded 80 years in the future, the ship's captain, Anton Koffield, though decorated by his service for necessary action in destroying the wormhole rather than allow the violation of the past, is reviled as having doomed a newly terraformed world unable to receive their relief supplies. His career at an end, Koffield accepts a research offer and the next time we meet him he's a passenger waking from cold sleep (an unpleasant experience) on a merchant ship inexplicably marooned 127 more years into the future.
Mysteries pile upon mysteries and Allen feeds us just enough answers to keep it all suspenseful rather than hopelessly confusing. His exploration of the rigid rules necessary to allow the use of time as a travel convenience and the elaborate strategems required to terraform worlds in a galaxy sadly devoid of life-supporting planets are intriguing. He has invested his imagined universe with detailed technology and ecological problems, which naturally find parallels in our own world.
Koffield, a lonely, burdened, man, is a tough, principled old veteran with an appealingly vulnerable side and his young female pilot assistant is resourceful if inexperienced.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Jones on July 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
The most important thing I can tell you about this novel is that it doesn't end with any sort of resolution. After the initial confrontation that maroons the Koffield character, the author piles mystery upon mystery and main characters unravel almost none of it. They were _handed_ some answers at the end of the story in a most unsatisfactory fashion. I nearly hurled the book across the room in frustration. After reading the pitiful attempt at resolution, I was forced to conclude that the whole purpose of this book, all 400+ pages, was to set the reader up for the next book in the series. I don't mind a book being part of a series if each book in the series is worth reading on its own. After 200 pages I realized that the author had run out of story. This leaves the next 200 pages to bore you to tears.
The story started briskly, with a conflict at one of the wormholes. There was darned good action and suspense, and characters with believable motivations. The description of the wormhole transport system, particularly the confusing use of the terms "uptime" and "downtime" was the main flaw in this part of the story. Once I learned to ignore the terms and guess what was going on by context, I had no problem getting into the story.
But once Koffield is marooned in the future, the story just dies. Koffield is converted from a military captain to an academian, and academians other than Indiana Jones just don't make for exciting reading. Despite the misleading title and back cover, time travel plays almost no part in the story after the first (and most exciting) part of the novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Mercado on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because I saw that it was written by Roger MacBride Allen. I liked his writing in the Star Wars Universe so I figured I couldn't go wrong it picking up the book. Well, I was right but I should have waited for all the books to be out.
Like the previous reviewer said, "starts fast, runs out of gas, coasts, then... no resolution!" Allen reels you in the beginning but then kind of gets lost in the middle, in effect losing you as well. He then reels you back in, only to end the book abruptly with no resolution for the characters or the reader. Although this may seem like a bad thing, I personally think it was intentional. Since the book seems to be the first in a set or series.
That aside, I did enjoy the book. Depths of Time is enjoyable if you can overlook its cliffhanger ending. If you're a soap watcher then DOT's ending will be no surprise. Personally, I'm waiting to see what Allen has in store for us in the next book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Mowry on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This novel is exactly the opposite of the Star Trek/Star Wars vision of the future. The feel of the book is much more along the lines of Alien/Outland, a very gritty future where there is no faster-than-light warp drive, and travel between the stars is a slow, tedious and sometimes dangerous business. What makes the trip possible is the use of wormholes to manage the time dilation effects. These wormholes are guarded by the Chronologic Patrol, one ship at each end, their job to prevent at all costs any occurence of time paradoxes. The novel opens with an attack on one of the wormholes, an unheard of event, and a very gripping portrayal of how one ship, the Upholder, and it's captain, Anton Koffield, respond to that attack.
This book is a fascinating portrait of a man who has great integrity, and knows how to handle duty and responsibility. It starts with him at a high point in his career, and then follows him as he becomes a political hot potato, promoted to Admiral and assigned a desk job. Although he made the hard decision and did his job by the book, the public sees him as a monster. He is approached to write a history of terraforming, and discovers an approaching cataclysm. If you have read any of Daniel Quinn's books (Ishmael, The Story of B) this approaching cataclysm will be very familiar.
I enjoyed the exploration of Anton Koffield. The author does a great job of getting into characters heads and showing us what is motivating them. It's interesting to me to witness a man who falls from grace, loses everything, and is flattered into doing work that may or may not be important, then discovering a hidden secret that has dire implications for all humanity. Seeing Koffield's opposite motivated by ego and grandiosity made a perfect counterpoint.
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