Have you ever had this question posed to you: “If you could go back in time, to kill Hitler before his rise to power, would you?” Imagine all the lives you could save, the millions who died in concentration camps, on the beaches of Normandy, the innocents at Hiroshima; ended with a bullet.
Now, ask yourself this: “What if you had to go back in time to save Hitler?” How does that grab you? Well, it’s the question Indie Author, Adam Moon poses in his latest work, To Kill a Time Traveller.
Written in the form of a journal, TKaTK is told from the point of view of Jack Mayberry, an ex-soldier turned school teacher, living in a world where Adolf Hitler was killed before he won the 1933 election in Germany. You’d think it would be a grand world, where peace has been reigning since the end of World War I, but you’d be wrong. According to the history of the fiction the author gives us, without Ol’ Adolf, a worse monster was elected to power. His name is Thalmann, and he went ahead with World War II – and thanks to his Communist leanings, ended up teaming with Stalin to form what would have been the greatest tag-team since the Megapowers!
So, what happened to Adolf in this alternate reality? A time traveller of course. But this is where things start to get interesting, when a time machine is discovered along with a handy-dandy time travel Manuel. From the manual it’s discovered that somewhere, in another time-stream, time travel has been invented and used to jump into past of bordering realities. It’s a safety precaution, so when a “time tourist” goes back to murder someone from history, their own reality does not suffer the consequences. And too bad for Jack, but it looks like his was used and abused, and with a thousand nukes pointed at the United States, he’s about to go on a desperate trip to the past.
One of the things I loved about this book was the many brief studies of paradoxes, and Jack’s struggle to sort them out. It’s like reading about The Bizzaro Doctor; poor Jack’s just a soldier, his mind on the mission, and you can practically feel the veins in his head bulge as he tries to sort out his own time line. Jack’s a fairly interesting protagonist, disbelieving at first, but eager to see the past. In most ways he’s got an Average Joe feel, but don’t worry, he’s got some heavy shadows in his past.
Jack does come across as juvenile at times, and I did find my eye twitching at few phrases here and there, but they were brief.
Melanie is a scientist sent back with Jack, because of her ability to speak German. She’s got personality; she’s fairly bold and not afraid to use her taser. But at times I thought she came across a little too ditzy, though she does make up for it by book’s end.
Scott is a soldier sent back to be the muscle, should Jack and Mel run into any trouble. I’m not willing to give up any spoilers, but I will say that Scott acts as a sort of antagonist. He seems normal enough at first, but quickly loses his mind (again, I won’t tell you why) and ends up playing the time travel game quite well.
A Note about Plot and Theme:
The plot isn’t nearly as hard to follow for the reader than it is for Jack (of course, since this is basically Jack’s journal, we can surmise that he did put the pieces together after the fact,and was able to present it well, which makes sense to me). In fact, I thought it was a fun ride, the way Mr. Moon uses time travel to set up and then tear down plot points. That’s the fun of time travel, isn’t it?
If I had to pick a theme for this it would be futility.
Would I recommend this book? Why, yes I would. It’s fun, and it makes you think about things like “The Consequences of Time Travel”, which is a very “meat and potatoes” subject for Science Fiction, and I like meat and potatoes. The Characters aren’t universal, not everyone will find them “likeable”, but that’s all right. Some folk will like them, other’s won’t, but I think there’s enough good in this book to get past it and enjoy. Besides, each characters has moments where they shine.
So, if you like Time Travel stories, or books like The Man in the High Castle, pick up To Kill a Time Traveller, and enjoy! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Get it on Amazon here
And Follow Adam Moon on twitter @AdamMoonAuhtor