When The Devil Flies by Michael McGowan

When The Devil Flies

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Historical fiction about a man thrown back in time, which allows him the opportunity to manipulate the already-known future to his benefit.

Debut novelist McGowan begins his tale in a Geopark called Smoo cave, a tourist attraction in Scotland. James Daniels, a middle-aged Canadian, is traveling with close friends and their children. The sudden impact of a supernova causes strange lights to spring from the Earth’s depths. During this unexpected geophysical event, James is knocked unconscious. He wakes, confused, at a hospital and learns that he and Marianne, his friends’ 12-year-old daughter, have been rescued from the cave. However, a few conversations with others at the hospital alert James and Marianne to the shocking discovery that they have been transported back in time to 1928. Unclear on whether they will ever manage to return to their original lives, James and Marianne decide to use their knowledge of future events to their advantage in the short term. James purports to “invent” several modern-day retail items—e.g., kitty litter and Scrabble—then shifts his focus to methods of helping mankind, like facilitating the creation of penicillin and maybe even preventing World War II. Unfortunately for James, and humankind, preventing World War II is harder than he expects, and war still breaks out. Undeterred, James commits to helping the Allied Forces, developing weapons and warning of impending attacks, all based on his alleged psychic gift for astonishingly accurate premonitions. As James attempts to thwart the Nazis, he finds himself in many dangerous situations and moral conundrums. During this fast-paced, suspense-filled journey, McGowan fills the story with intriguingly complex details about WWII, Nazi Germany, and life in the 1920s and ’30s. James’ actions begin to impact history, changing future events while leaving plenty of room for surprise. In addition to providing an engrossing history lesson, this thought-provoking tale touches on several other issues, including homosexuality, race relations, divorce, war crimes, and our ever evolving outlooks on life.

A fresh approach to WWII fiction.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2015


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