In this sequel to Wade of Aquitaine (2008), two lovers continue their trips through antiquity in hopes of outwitting a mighty, manipulative force.
Wade Linwood of 21st-century Long Island is a potent synesthete. His senses are crisscrossed, but he can control the disorienting influx of sights, tastes, and smells to access the astral plane. Further, using an acupuncture point on his ankle, he can travel in time. Kreindia the Strange of ninth-century Amorium is an even more powerful synesthete. She and Wade, time-lost lovers, had found each other. Following the disastrous C.E. 814 battle at the Brennii Pass (in Wade of Aquitaine), Wade tries to return to the 21st century with Kreindia in tow. While he returns intact, she ends up in the quadriplegic body of Kreindel, a young woman who visits the same acupuncture clinic as Wade. He catches up with his love and her parents in the parking lot after an appointment. Faron Richter, Kreindel’s abusive stepfather, manages to brush Wade off despite his curative presence. Later, after Kreindel somehow disappears from the Richter home, Faron asks Wade where she might have gone. Though he suspects she’s escaped back in time, Wade remains silent. “Nothing to say to me?” begs Faron, whose foreboding name drips with villainy. Parris (Today You Write the Book, 2015, etc.) doubles down on everything that made the previous novel so rewarding. A devotion to ancient history allows the author to send his protagonists on individual, meticulously plotted adventures in time; Wade visits the sixth century to aid Theoderic the Great, while Kreindia lands in C.E. 820 to help her uncle, the imprisoned Michael of Amorium. Agile prose enlivens an already heady narrative, as in the line “Light illuminated a stripe of his face, making his darting eye appear to be mounted on the middle of a stick.” Parris doesn’t stop at depicting historical titans and epic battles. The quantum aspect of his series is just as thrilling; upon seeing the fabric of existence, Kreindia becomes “certain that this was the composition of both life and nonlife.” A dismal, uncertain finale propels readers toward the third installment.
An exhilarating time-travel tale hits a bull’s-eye.