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In Retrospect Hardcover – November 20, 2013
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This is a very deceptive science-fiction novel. It appears at first as though it’s going to be a time-travel mystery: in the year 3324, a military commander is murdered and an investigator is to be sent back in time to identify the killer. But, as the author builds the characters and establishes their world (the book is set in a postapocalyptic future, in the former country of Turkey, in the aftermath of a war between two powerful factions), it begins to feel as though what we’re reading is prologue to the actual story—and we start to wonder, When does the actual time-traveling happen? But just as we’re wondering that, along comes a major plot twist, something that makes us rethink everything we’ve just read, and we realize the story has a hidden subtext—although, we also realize, there were lots of hints—and the novel is vastly different from what we thought it would be. A cleverly structured mix of science fiction and mystery. --David Pitt
Frequent shifts of time and place...require constant reorientation...in Larson's gripping novel. Merit's attitude is fueled by adrenaline, antipsychotics, and an intense hatred of the enemy.... Soon, treachery within the ranks leads to unexpected consequences. -RT Book Review - Four Stars
Compelling. Intriguing. Fascinating.... You are drawn quickly into Merit Rafi's world from the prologue--such a compelling opening for this story (written in future tense--very rare). You just can't help turning the pages.... [T]he choices [Merit] makes (whether good or bad) lead toward an astounding climax that rocks you in your seat.... It is definitely gritty, and a bit steamy in a place or two but not graphic.... Do not plan on getting much sleep while reading this book, you won't be able to put it down. -Upon Reflection, Christian Writings Reviewed
[A] carefully crafted whodunit . . . shifting timelines clearly notated in chapter headings and technological/theoretical discussions that readers can skim or chew over with equal enjoyment should make this speculative fiction mystery accessible to all closed-room murder fans. --Publishers Weekly STARRED Review
Murder in the far future has a time traveler seeking answers in the recent past . . . will Merit choose to challenge her values for the sake of her family and crew, or is the past too far out of reach? Twisty plot . . --Kirkus Review
Top customer reviews
Merit was a Retrospector, the elite of the period when the Oku ruled what was left of the world, after the society we know managed to mostly blow itself up in the world war to end all world wars. She spent 10 years training at the Priory to travel through time. Now, her people have been defeated by the Rasakans, in part because the chief Oku general surrendered. Then he was murdered. Merit is recruited by the new rulers to travel back in time to solve the case. But the main thing to remember is, she's a reluctant recruit. She has to juggle a Rasakan ex-boyfriend, a newly drafted team eager to succeed and, most important, her loss of belief in herself.
Moments from the past -- her training at the Priory, her time with the Rasakan -- shed light on her pain. Her struggle -- does she pull out of the mission or not? -- shine through the narrative. And the ending turns back on itself with perfect connection to Merit's past.
I was hooked all the way through. I would have given it five stars save for a slightly talking beginning -- trust me, you'll be hooked quickly enough.
I haven't read a lot of science fiction in the past few years, but am glad I read this one. Not like your usual piece of dystopia or bland-character message story, it keeps you guessing, while painting a future world in interesting strokes.
It’s the 24th century, and Merit Rafi, a forensic Retrospecter, has been given the task to identify the murderer of Zane, a worthy general/hero, by going back in time. She came to Rasaka to strengthen the bonds between the Oku’s and the Raskan’s, through education and scientific exchange. Zane’s death gives them the opportunity to use the precious technology together, for the first time.
But there is one problem, all Merit ever wanted was to die fighting for her comrades for what she believed in. And now she finds herself facing the ultimate humiliation, to flex in the name of Rasaka, the people who had destroyed her world… and break the trust of everything she had been taught to believe.
In Retrospect, by Ellen Larson, was my first taste of Science Fiction. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it but I absolutely did, as is evident with my 5 star rating. The cover made no sense to me at first, but as I read the story, I understood what, rather who was on the cover. In retrospect, it made sense. ;)
I loved Merit. She was so sassy and cynical. Her witty comments had me laughing throughout. Merit was a strong female character, who any woman would like to see themselves as –if they were living vicariously through this book, (which of course I was).
The ending surprised me. I totally didn’t expect it! I had to reread a couple sections, as well as my personal notes, to make sure I grasped it correctly. And wow, what an ending it was! This is definitely a story I will be reading again! I’m sure the second time around will make it all the more interesting, knowing what I know now as to how it ended.
Overall, In Retrospect, by Ellen Larson is an excellent futuristic sci-fi mystery, with a bit of romance! I would recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by time travel, and enjoys a good mystery. In Retrospect does not disappoint! 5 Stars!
***I was fortunate to receive a signed hard copy of In Retrospect by participating in a contest. Thank you Ellen Larson!