The Time Roads

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The Golden Octopus

On November of 1897, Áine Lasairíona Devereaux becomes the reluctant, yet rightful, thirty-first ruler of Éire after her father’s death. Her family has suffered not only many deaths, but assassination attempts as well, and Áine is no exception. On the day of her coronation, an attempt is made on her life, which leads to the hiring of a new bodyguard, Aidrean Ó Deághaidh. He proves to be both a trustworthy and dependable friend to the new queen. However, due to the nature of the proper relationship between queen and subject, Áine takes on a different “favorite” – a scientist her father once favored, Breandan Read Ó Cuilinn, a man who “walks the time roads,” and has been experimenting with time travel. By 1902, at the same time that Áine sends Ó Deághaidh to investigate some gruesome murders, Ó Cuilinn takes off on his red air balloon to experiment with his latest discoveries of time travel, promising to return – but he does not.

A Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange

On September 1902, a mathematics student at the Awveline University, Síomón Madóc, visits his sister Gwen at the sanitarium. She has gone mad from her studies of prime numbers – the key to time travel and fractures in time and space. He is questioned by Ó Deághaidh about the macabre murders that have occurred among his colleagues. All the victims are mathematics students. Síomón’s involvement in these murders, as well as the ones that keep occurring as the days progress – a confusing blend of hours, days, weeks, and deaths that blur together – lead to questioning the change in time frame, has time been compromised? Is there a mad man on the loose? Or are the murders due to time travel?

Ars Memoriae

By April 1904, the world exists within a different reality and time: the murders never occurred, but there is instability among the kingdoms and countries surrounding Éire. Ó Deághaidh has suffered a breakdown – he remembers the alternate pasts, false memories, and different time distortions altogether. Yet, he is able to come into the queen’s confidence once more to serve as her spy in the troubled nearby regions. Some dissenting groups have been experimenting with time shifts, and are willing to use it as a weapon to start a revolution. Ó Deághaidh is charged with the difficult task of preserving the future that will keep everyone out of war.

The Time Roads

After a decade, on February 1914, Éire stands at the brink of war, even with Áine’s idea of uniting the empire and surrounding political entities. Yet, the same old troubles haunt her kingdom, as dissidents continue to plot against her rule and her life. With the help of Síomón and Gwen – who are during this time at the forefront of scientific discovery regarding the time roads – Áine discovers much more than she bargains for, but also a way to a better future for her people.

Throughout each section of this wonderfully woven tale of transmutable time frames and duplicitous agents, one relationship remains reliable and honest – that between Áine and her good friend, Ó Deághaidh. Although their service to Éire takes precedence in both of their lives, it is their understanding of the importance to be truthful, despite personal preferences that helps them maintain a semblance of order in the face of complete chaos. Though Áine becomes a leader, despite her desperately not wanting to take on such a burden at a young age, it is her ability to keep an open mind, to trust those who have served Éire faithfully, and to remember the wise advice of her parents, that allow her to maintain her poise and good judgment in spite of truly horrendous and trying times.

The Time Roads is magical tale of time travel, political intrigue, and infinite possibilities. Though at times confusing in a way that allows one to be drawn deep into the folds of variable time and space, we can trust that the mysteries will be somewhat explained in the end, with the few loose strands that the shifting of time simply cannot explain.


Reviewed By:

Author Beth Bernobich
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 304 pages
Publisher Tor Books
Publish Date 2014-Oct-14
ISBN 9780765331250
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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