Monaghan’s debut sci-fi novel offers a time-travel adventure and a world-spanning quest for ancient artifacts.
After an accident at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva interrupts a scientific conference on time travel, a motley team of scientists enters the LHC to repair it. But when the supercollider throws the team into a limbo between dimensions, their only way back is to assemble a collection of ancient artifacts from around the world—and across time. Luckily, dashing archaeologist Bryce Barrigan leads the team, and the accident has made it possible for them to travel through both time and space. This promising setup kicks off a series of quests, from colonial New Zealand to ancient Egypt to 2020 California. Unfortunately, these adventures don’t always deliver thrills, as the narrative often stops short to deliver information on, for example, the theory of relativity (which does affect the story) and the history of Geneva from 121 B.C. (which doesn’t). Digressions on car emissions and general comments on how “[a]ncient history is filled with stories that have kept us spellbound over the ages,” also disrupt the pacing. Many characters come across more as types than as individuals, and readers may find it difficult to identify or sympathize with them. For example, Barrigan isn’t merely an archaeologist, but also an athlete, medic, engineer and “the person most likely to make the best decision”—in other words, an unreal fantasy. Minor characters aren’t very notable, and statements such as, “All the teams wanted to laugh, but there had been too much sadness for that,” don’t invite reader interest.
An unengaging sci-fi time-travel adventure.