In this second sci-fi novel in a series, a time machine accident puts a man in a precarious future, where he struggles to find his place.
After arriving in a strange new world with nothing but a towel, Diego Nadales barely survives a fall from a treetop, where his time-travel capsule delivered him. He was supposed to be sent back in time from 2025 to 2005, on a mission critical to the Earth’s survival. But instead, he arrived in an alternate version of Earth in 2048, near Kirk Biodome in Colorado. Amazingly, Diego can survive the “Outside” without a protective suit, despite the fact that the Doomsday Virus nearly destroyed all mammalian life years ago. Survivors shelter in domes designed by David Kirk, whom Diego remembers as Dave Kirkland, his fiancee Isabel “Iz” Sanborn’s manipulative ex-husband. As Diego heals from his broken bones, he mourns Iz and his wasted effort to save his world, but he forges new friendships. Slowly, Diego becomes close to his doctor, Lani Kai, who’s scarred physically and emotionally. He also finds new purpose by exploring how his immunity to the virus can aid the community—and he gets new hope when a mysterious note advises him that Isabel is alive, back in his home universe. A trip to a biodome on Chesapeake Bay may provide answers, but then things go horribly wrong. Orton (The Last Star & Other Stories, 2017, etc.) does a good job of providing exposition and backstory to link this outing with the first installment, Crossing In Time, and it will be pleasing for readers to finally learn Diego’s fate. The romance between Diego and Lani is much less compelling, though—largely because the author presents Lani’s issues so melodramatically. Luckily, Orton handles the science and worldbuilding well, and her characterization of other players is more successful. Lani’s daughter Shannon—a brilliant, curious teenager with a genius for tinkering and somewhat naïve enthusiasm—nicely illustrates how the younger generation grows up in biodomes. The book introduces new mysteries and ends on a cliffhanger, which will whet readers’ appetites for the next installment.
Not a strong stand-alone novel, but compelling enough to keep the series’ readers hooked.