Thursday, October 15, 2015
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Shelf Awareness Starred Review
RT Book Reviews Top Pick
RT Book Reviews July Seal of Excellence
The sequel, Time Siege, is tentatively scheduled for May 2016 (cuz folks keep asking)
Convicted criminal James Griffin-Mars is no one’s hero. In his time, Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humans have fled into the outer solar system to survive, eking out a fragile, doomed existence among the other planets and their moons. Those responsible for delaying humanity’s demise believe time travel holds the key, and they have identified James, troubled though he is, as one of a select and expendable few ideally suited for the most dangerous job in history.
James is a chronman, undertaking missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. The laws governing use of time travel are absolute; break any one of them and, one way or another, your life is over. Most chronmen never reach old age; the stress of each jump through time, compounded by the risk to themselves and to the future, means that many chronmen rapidly reach their breaking point, and James Griffin-Mars is nearing his.
On a final mission that is to secure his retirement, James meets Elise Kim, an intriguing scientist from a previous century, who is fated to die during the destruction of an oceanic rig. Against his training and his common sense, and in violation of the chronmen’s highest law, James brings Elise back to the future with him, saving her life, but turning them both into fugitives. Remaining free means losing themselves in the wild and poisonous wastes of Earth, somehow finding allies, and perhaps discovering what hope may yet remain for humanity's home world.
Time Salvager had me holding my breath the entire time I was reading. When I was near the end all I could think was that it was going to have a very bad ending leaving me with a very bad feeling. Fortunately I got Tor’s newsletter talking about the sequal. So the bad feeling did not come. The end of the book is not the end of the story. Now I was left wanting the next book to come out soon. (See above – not soon enough for me and others).
I loved James. He has all of the conflicted feeling that make a great hero. Grace, the Mother of Time, is another great characters. I don’t think I ever liked her but she really could set a mood and keep everyone on track. Elise is the one who sets everything in motion when James brings she to the future. The three do a great job of keeping the story moving.
None of that would matter if the world building and back-story were not as well done. The plot lets us look at the world before everything went bad as well as giving a great look at the very dismal future. The secondary characters are also used to fill gaps in both plot, world building and back-story.
This is a very fast paced and exciting story. Time Salvager meets the mark for exciting tension filled Science Fiction. The pacing is great, the writing very good, and plot has all the twists and turns needed to keep the readers interest. I recommend it for any Science Fiction fan. Just be warned. You will join all of us waiting for the next book in the series.
Tor published Time Salvager by Wesley Chu in 2015.