Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Time and Time Again by Ben Elton

review by Maryom

For over 300 years, the Masters of Trinity College, Cambridge have been closely guarding a secret - that on a certain date in 2024 a loop in time will allow someone to travel back 110 years... to June 1914 a few weeks before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sparked a war that engulfed the whole of Europe. If only someone could be sent back in time to alter events and prevent the devastation that is to come ... but that person would be trapped back in 1914 as a new page of history was written...and their family and friends back in the 21st century would cease to exist. Enter retired army captain Hugh Stanton, a man with few friends and, following a tragic car accident, no family. Still mourning his wife and children he has nothing to lose, so when approached by his old professor, now the Master of Trinity, he agrees to this unusual 'mission'.

Following his last novel set in 1930s and 40s Berlin, Ben Elton takes us further back in time to the crucial months in 1914 when Europe was balanced on the brink of war.....and maybe the right man in the right place could have prevented it. Hugh of course is aware that all of his actions, no matter how insignificant, will change history as he knows it - but he can't help but intervene from time to time, with potentially disastrous results. As he seeks to fulfil his mission Hugh saves lives, takes lives and still finds time to fall in love.

It's not an unknown premise for a story - from Kate Atkinson's Life After Life, to Stephen Fry's Making History, or even a Star Trek film - but Elton pulls it off in an original and entertaining way. As a thriller, it didn't really keep me on the edge of my seat, as I fully expected Hugh to complete his task, but the real plot twists come after that.
It's a book which will have you wondering - if I could change history, what would I change, what were the truly pivotal moments, does history turn on the actions of one man or the mass consciousness of nations?

Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher -
Bantam Press
Genre -
adult, thriller, time travel, historical fiction

Other reviews; For Winter Nights

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