A Celt from the 10th century C.E. embarks on a quest through time in Gurkovich’s debut book, an energetic fantasy adventure.
One day while out hunting, a young man named Cathal happens upon Crowley, a wise old man of his village, who informs him that he’s been chosen to save the world. Many years ago, gods known as the Greater Beings created the world and continued to rule over it, eventually making shorter-lived beings in their image, namely humans. The most commanding of the gods were the kind, courageous Viktor and the ruthless, malicious Terranos, who eventually attempted to rule all of the Greater Beings. Viktor rose up against Crowley, half of the gods rallying to him and the other half falling in line with Terranos. Ultimately, Viktor’s team, the Elluna, succeeded. However, being gods, Terranos and his people, the Tarnok, couldn’t be defeated altogether; they were simply banished to the stars. Knowing that the Tarnok would one day return, Viktor imbued five mystical stones with the powers needed to save the world, all of which were eventually stolen by human Terranos worshipers known as the Tarnen. To regain the precious stones, Crowley sends Cathal to the different time periods when retrieval is possible. While the novel may not have the most original story, the author plunges the reader into it with vim, vigor, and an excellent knack for pacing, making for an often exciting read with a sense of forward motion and drive. This usually manages to distract attention from the fairly standard characters and their lack of complex development. But while some of the time-travel destinations are inspired, such as Gangland Chicago in the Roaring ’20s, others seem tonally inappropriate. For example, while it’s generally treated respectfully here, the Rape of Nanking feels far too bleak an environment in which to thrust a time traveler, especially when it’s presented as just one in a series of exploits involving magical MacGuffins.
A well-written, high-spirited time-travel novel that offers some thrills but fails to deliver anything startlingly new to the genre.