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Time's Fugitive Paperback – May 1, 2012
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A past shrouded in mystery
Violet Sinclair remembers nothing of her life before the day she awoke several years earlier, drenched in blood that wasn't hers. But since she met Tony Solomon, she's been certain of one thing - sometime in her hidden past, she knew him... loved him... and did something terrible to him.
Time-traveler Tony Solomon is sure he never met Violet before they were coworkers, yet she bears an uncanny resemblance to the woman he loved and lost decades before he was born. After an impulse encounter leaves Violet pregnant with his child, she becomes the target of killers from the future.
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But all that¡¯s neither here nor there on page 1. Tony likes this cute IT worker who doesn¡¯t exactly fit the Hollywood model of beauty and uses swear words better suited for a 1930¡äs movie. Then we get to page 2, and men with lasers come out. Sure, this is a romance, but it¡¯s also a science fantasy novel. Men with nasty hardware are a great way to get a reader¡¯s attention.
So who are these guys? And who is this Saturn Society that Tony is convinced is out to get him? And why, if some of them consider him a criminal, are others in the society trying to help him? And while we¡¯re at it, why does Tony¡¯s boss, the mysterious Keith Lynch keep turning up at odd times. Literally odd times, like on the banks of Ohio¡¯s Great Miami River before there were any Miami Indians to name it after? It¡¯s a romp through time ¨C 1959, the Ft. Ancient era of the Ohio River Valley, the end of the Great Depression, and even 1976 (which Powell depicts every bit as tackily as I remember it. Even Jimmy Carter shows up on television.)
Tony¡¯s suspicions about Violet do start to wear a bit thin once we¡¯re into the book. There were a couple of times I wanted to grab him by the lapels and go, ¡°Seriously, dude? Are you that frackin¡¯ paranoid?¡± Eventually, as both Tony and Violet are put through the wringer, this starts to balance out. The second half of the novel literally had me on the edge of my seat, which is kind of embarrassing when you¡¯re reading at work.
Tony and Violet face dangers from time, nature, and the menacing enemies that are hunting them through the past and the present. Once again, there's a solid grounding in science from the time-travel perspective and it's clear that the author has done her homework on the locales and settings in which Tony and Violet find themselves. But more importantly, the story is utterly unputdownable. I ended up staying up until 5 AM just to keep reading. On a week night. I couldn't bear not knowing what happened next and I simply HAD to find out how Tony and Violet would escape their pursuers. Tony and Violet are not perfect super-people, either. Tony has made mistakes, as has Violet, and both of them are wonderfully flawed, *real* people, while at the same time possessing that larger than life quality we need to see in heroes of epic stories.
If you're a fan of action thrillers with a strong romantic thread, this book is for you. If you're a fan of soft SF and speculative fiction with a grounding, or at least a touch-point, in current-era reality, you'll love this book. If you are looking for a "big" book that could easily translate into a summer blockbuster movie, press the "buy" button now. You won't regret it.
I heartily recommend this book.