The second installment of Lawrence’s Guardians series—following his debut novel The Guardians of Time (2011)—is equal parts epic science-fiction, time-travel adventure, historical-fiction drama and apocalyptic thriller.
With nothing short of the future of civilization at stake, agents from a time-traveling anti-terrorism group must go back into the past to stop an enemy organization determined to alter history—and thus the future—for its nefarious purposes. With dual storylines set largely in 2074 Monemvasia, Greece, “the Gibraltar of the East,” and early 19th-century Greece during the country’s war for independence against the Ottoman Empire, the high octane narrative is powered by an ensemble cast of well-developed, emotionally compelling characters such as Rashid Ibn Taleb Al-Noury, a young Moroccan who has joined the ranks of the Guardians as a Paladin to try and uncover what the Trustees are plotting in 1825 Greece; John Crowe, a ruthless, charismatic Trustee operative and former Paladin; and Mark Lawson, the time traveler from the future who brought with him that which could save humanity—and potentially destroy it. Although the science-fiction element is an obviously integral part of the storyline, much of the time it takes a backseat to the saga’s historical-fiction aspect. Lawrence excels at immersing the reader in 1825 Greece through vivid, thorough description and a clear knowledge of the area, its history and culture. Fans of elite alternate history sagas like S.M. Stirling’s Island in the Sea of Time trilogy, Robert Silverberg’s Roma Eterna and Eric Flint and David Drake’s Belisarius sequence will be more than satisfied with the meticulous historical detail, adept characterization and intricate plotlines of the Guardians saga.
Blending grand-scale storytelling with deeply provocative social and spiritual themes, Lawrence could very well be the next coming of Harry Turtledove.