I always enjoy time travel novels and this one was no exception although I thought that in some places this one got a little bit carried away. It was sometimes hard to follow all the travels through time to retrieve one of the travel devices, etc. Overall though, I did like the story which starts out at the funeral of one of the main characters, Shel, who then comes back using time travel. The story then tells how Shel came into possession of three time travel devices invented by his father and how Shel and his friend Dave end up traveling through time to try to locate his missing dad. I really enjoyed several of their adventures including trips to the library at Alexandria and their efforts to retrieve some of the lost plays of Sophocles. There were a few things that bothered me about the novel including no kind of explanation of how the time travel devices were supposed to work. Also, there seemed to be a lot of travel to times and locations that were comparatively minor in world history but no travel to see how the pyramids were built or to see first-hand the reported miracles of Christ. Anyway, overall I would still recommend this to readers of time-travel fiction.
Some of this is going to sound contradictory since I have to say I waffled between 3 and 4 stars, but Ill explain that along the way.
Personally, I really enjoyed this book. It was a great trip through history. A veritable what-if traveling list for time travel adventurers. I fully admit that I have a weakness for both time travel stories and history. Thus my first dilemma when rating this book as I would be the first in line if they were offering time travel cruises and I feel it may bias my views on this type of story.
The actual shell story wasnt very important to my overall enjoyment of the book and it really wasnt all that memorable for me aside from a few pieces. This was my second consideration and what almost made me give it a 3. However, what I found interesting was the time spent in the past, the discussions about who to go visit and why, and seeing historic people at historic events which was well done and entertaining. Mostly what I found appealing about this particular book was the opportunity for just a moment to transport yourself to those far away times and places to catch a glimpse of that time if even just through a fictional account. That pretty much sums up why I love time travel stories. I would have loved to have gone along on the adventure. For that moment of daydreaming Im willing to overlook a lot as I dont expect that these gentlemen will show up on my front porch with a spare device and an invitation for me to come along.
Its nice when they try to explain how you get there and whatever the paradox theory is for a particular book. In this one its the cardiac effect, which basically means if you mess up the timeline in some way that you arent supposed to that youll have a heart attack and die. Theres one event of sorts, some later discussion about it, and then its brought back up a few times in the story. Overall though not much time is spent worrying about it by the characters so as a reader I didnt either. They kind of say that something could be a problem and then go off on their adventures despite it. As a reader I followed suit and was swept away without much worry for the cardiac effect.
So I settled on a 4 because I love traveling through the ages. If you also enjoy visiting long ago people and places in this manner and dont care to spend too much time on how the time travel actually works then I think youll enjoy this story vacation as much as I did. If youre looking for something with hard scientific data to get you down the time tunnel you might want to look elsewhere. It was highly readable and I breezed right through it feeling refreshed from the adventure.