A disjointed time-travel romp through the ages authored by a physician turned first-time novelist.
Finn McGee left a successful medical practice to pursue an advanced degree in physics under the tutelage of scientist Frank Hayhurst. Although McGee has found great professional recognition—including a departmental chair—he’s also endured great hardship; his wife was murdered 13 years ago while carrying their child, who also did not survive. Soon after accepting an award from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., McGee is met by uniformed, badge-carrying men who claim that there’s been an accident in his lab and that his mentor, Hayhurst, is missing. Thus begins McGee’s life-changing odyssey, as he flees to New York City and the penthouse home of his lifelong friend, Jesuit priest Dan Gilmore. With the help of Gilmore and his sister Maddy, McGee perfects his time-travel experiments and starts taking trips through history, witnessing, among other events, the bubonic plague epidemic and Jesus’ crucifixion. This well-researched novel features intriguing events and engaging characters, but it’s also weakened by too many unresolved plot details; for example, Hayhurst’s disappearance and McGee’s flirtation with a female CIA agent are essentially forgotten as the novel progresses. The novel’s most engaging portions detail McGee’s courtship and marriage, although the murder of his wife is largely glossed over. Homa includes some clever touches: for example, the Greek scientist Archimedes lived in ancient Syracuse, while McGee works at Syracuse University. The author’s dedication of this book to concept of the mulligan golf shot is very appropriate; perhaps his next shot will live up to this one’s promise.
A fascinating, if flawed, blend of suspense, history, time travel and shades of steampunk.