A hidden underground city and its time machine may be the key to survival for a future Earth in this third novel in a series.
In an alternate version of Earth that’s similar to our own, but 30 years in the future, the Doomsday Virus has killed nearly every mammal, and the last humans live in scattered biodomes. Diego Nadales, a time traveler from our own Earth, is immune, and his blood could help provide the basis for a vaccine. At the close of the last book, he was traveling with 18-year-old Shannon Malia Kai, a brilliant engineer, from Colorado to better-equipped labs at a Chesapeake Bay biodome (“C-Bay”). Then she was kidnapped by the residents of a Christian fundamentalist dome; it’s rumored that they’ve murdered all the disobedient women there. Shannon musters her considerable wits to survive, while her mother, Dr. Lani Kai, searches for the underground city that holds a hope for saving humanity. David Kirk, the powerful leader of C-Bay, promises help—even though, on our Earth, his counterpart, Dave Kirkland, has only caused problems for Diego. Here, Kirk is married to Bella Sanborn, the woman Diego loves. However, the fate of the multiverse depends on Diego getting back to Isabella, which his original, failed time-travel mission was supposed to bring about. Then a note (in a man-made meteor) tells Diego to “Locate the Mountain. Use the machine. Find her. You have 15 days until it’s too late.” Orton (Lost Time, 2016, etc.) writes another intriguing entry in his ongoing series. Shannon’s adventures, in particular, make for exciting reading, especially when she and her young husband (from a forced marriage) venture into a kind of outback. It turns out that he’s not the monster she feared, and the author handles their relationship with tenderness. However, as with previous books, it’s not the romances that garner the most interest. Shannon lives by her scientist father-figure Matt Hudson’s dictum—“Identify the problem, engineer a fix, and Bob’s your uncle”—and seeing several characters put this principle into action is highly satisfying. Readers will want to stick around for a future entry.
Another appealing series outing with plenty of fix-it energy.