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Mark of the Centipede: A Novel (Timeshifters) (Volume 1) Paperback – May 1, 2013
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About the Author
Cara Brookins grew up in Tomah, Wisconsin and currently lives near Little Rock, Arkansas in a home she hand built from the ground up with her four children. A one-eyed, mute cat named Peek-a-Boo is her faithful writing companion. When she isn’t reading, writing, or plotting a story, Cara works as a senior programmer analyst developing new computer software systems. She also enjoys building things with wood, concrete, clay, tile, and paper mâché. When she can escape into the outdoors she enjoys scuba diving, hooping, swimming, riding her bike, gardening, and spending time in the mountains. Writing allows her to investigate her curiosity about different locations, times, and mindsets. Cara is the author of the young adult Timeshifters trilogy, Mark of the Centipede (2013), Mark of the Serpent (2013), and Mark of the Spider(2014). She also has middle grade and adult titles, including Doris Free (2006), Gadget Geeks (2008), Doris Free a Harvest of Friends (2011), Little Boy Blu (2013), and a pile of ideas she is weaving into new novels for various age groups.
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This is a slightly different time travel novel than I've seen out here. This one requires less thought about historic accuracy and spends more time on the development of characters. It also has a bit of a twist in that there are two compellingly separate protagonists that end up at odds with each other adding a bit of wrinkle to the usual reader empathy factor. It also is written for young adults, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying it.
The story starts with a clever bit about Namor the Time Ranger who is inducted into the Time Rangers at age 12 and is 32 now and the agency has fallen on bad times and now most agents are Rogue agents who chose their own assignments and Namor's assignment is to locate another possible time traveler named Jordan Booker who is responsible for the death of Namor's time traveling parents.
Then the reader is introduced to Jordan Booker; perhaps to see how he became such a despicable person. Jordan and his sister Jada are on their way to Arkansas to live with their Aunt Maggie. They are orphans. And Aunt Maggie is now their guardian and she has used the (estate) money given her to purchase a rundown shack out in the middle of nowhere. Life isn't going to be very easy for these two and perhaps one might think that this and the abusive nature of Maggie might be what drives Jordan to evil straits.
On this secluded property is a crater that’s fenced in and its former owner, Albert, has been mining the crater for artifacts that might be alien in nature. Albert left some notes and artifacts and Jordan and Jada soon discover that there is definitely something strange out in the crater. Jordan eventually discovers that the Chronos (a possibly advanced society of some other time) have sent the time machine here so that he could travel through time and collect some artifacts that would help them save the future world. With that in mind he recklessly activates the time machine and ends up in a prehistoric landscape full of early humans who seem much more intelligent than historians have given them credit for with plenty of dangerous flora and fauna; and Jordan is stuck for 60 days before he can return. Jordan must undergo a severe self taught survival course and find the time machine, which has been moved; Plus he unknowingly is stalked by another time traveler.
So throughout the story we have two possible protagonist/antagonists who will eventually collide if Jordan survives long enough.
The novel is an interesting and surprisingly satisfying introduction to the strange world that Namor and Jordan live in and its interesting past. It also serves as a great medium to introduce the two characters who are destined to some eventual major conflict; but it’s a serial and there are three books: so it might be a while before I find all the answers.
Overall the novel is well written and draws to a satisfactory conclusion, leaving plenty of room for the next two novels. Definitely worth the time to read the well told story and crafted characters.
Good SFF for the Young and Adult and neat little Time Travel yarn though it does tend to stretch the Suspension of Disbelief factor a bit.
Cara Brookins has crafted a highly imaginative and enjoyable book time travel story about a good hearted fifteen year old boy who is thrust into the role of caregiver for his five year old sister and quest for survival. He faces moral dilemmas, life and death situations, and discovers that his actions have ramifications that reach far beyond his own life.
While having a teen protagonist may/has lead some to classify this as a Young Adult book, the Timeshifter series is no more limited to a YA audience than he Harry Potter series. It addresses heady philosophical issues such as how self, family, and community dynamics, and cultural differences shape societal norms, moral correctness, and other fabrics of civilization.
Have a read and enjoy the journey.
She gives the reader several unique views of an imagined ancient history. She's basically rewritten it, and all the rules have changed, except one. The nature of a 15 year-old boy. Brookins takes us inside the young mind of Jordan and somehow makes sense of an unrecognizable earth, millions of years in the past. The unbelievable becomes believable.
The word centipede in the title, has a distinct meaning in the story that I won't give away here. I'm looking forward to learning how the word serpent fits into Jordan Booker's next time travelling journey, Mark of the Serpent.
It had me identifying with the time traveler, anxiously awaiting the outcomes and nervously turning pages in anticipation of a safe return home to his sister.
"Mark of the Centipede" is well written and kept my attention from the touching beginning to the tension filled ending. Ms Brookins creativity is equal to Scott Smith in his novel "The Ruins" while capturing the time travel concept with the finesse of Stephen King in "11/22/63".
I look forward to Volume 2