How does one review a book without talking about it? This is my dilemma as I try to persuade you dear Readers to rush out and pick up Felix Palma’s book The Map of Time. This from Publisher’s Weekly:
Spanish author Palma makes his U.S. debut with the brilliant first in a trilogy, an intriguing thriller that explores the ramifications of time travel in three intersecting narratives. In the opening chapter, set in 1896 England, aristocratic Andrew Harrington plans to take his own life, despondent over the death years earlier of his lover, the last victim of Jack the Ripper. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Claire Haggerty plots to escape her restrictive role as a woman in Victorian society by journeying to the year 2000. A new commercial concern, Murray’s Time Travel, offers such a trip for a hefty fee. Finally, Scotland Yarder Colin Garrett believes that the fatal wound on a murder victim could only have been caused by a weapon from the future. Linking all three stories is H.G. Wells, the author of The Time Machine. Palma brings Wells and other historical figures like Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, plausibly to life.
For those of you who are not familiar with Victorian England you must keep in mind this is a period of time that saw science advance even though many still believed in fairies and magic. For many, science was the greatest magic of all and would easily believe anything they saw. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the man behind Sherlock Holmes believed two little girls had take pictures of fairies, while others spent time in salons communicating with the dead. What happens in this book could have easily happened during this period.
This is as much as I can say about book without giving anything away, for you see half the fun of the book is not knowing what is really going on. Instead of writing about the plot and characters I will instead, write about my first experience with Palma.
I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster after requesting it from an online blurb. The day the book came in I opened it up, wondering what I had gotten myself into. It is 612 pages long, and I had already agreed to review a couple of other books. After only two pages, with wide eyes I slammed the book down. “oh, oh” I thought, this may be a book I cannot put down. I quickly finished the other books then started The Map of Time last Friday night. By Monday afternoon I was finished. I read it over the weekend ignoring everything and everybody.
The book reminded me of a visit to a large carnival. There were rollercoaster twist and turns, wonderful characters to watch, savory sentences and then there is Palma, part showman, part con man, part ringleader. You know he is in charge and although he may be putting you on, you gleefully follow anyway. I would bet B.T. Barnum and Plama would get along famously! There came a time in the book that under almost any other writer I would have groaned and said “oh, come on!” Instead I laughed as it became clear he had conned me and I joyfully kept reading, breathlessly wondering what would come next. This is much more than a book, it is a ride, it’s a show and above all, it is something you may remember for a long time.