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From the Files of the Time Rangers [Hardcover]

Richard Bowes , Kage Baker

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Book Description

Sept. 28 2005
Greek gods are posing as humans and pulling humanity's strings in this mosaic novel about time travel, alternate worlds, and the making of a president. The Time Rangers, Apollo's chosen servants, are in charge of preserving the peace and harmony along the Time Stream, the pathway between various worlds and times, but Apollo has given them a new task—to protect Timothy Macauley, the chosen one who must become the president of the United States or else witness the destruction of humankind. Standing in the Rangers's way are other gods: Mercury, who's working his wiles in the world of public relations; Diana, cruising New York City in the guise of an NYPD detective; Pluto, who is in the process of grooming his successor; and Dionysus, who has caused the annihilation of an alternate world. Nonstop action keeps the story rolling from the 1950s to the present day, through this world and others. The author shares his insights into, and the history of, the mosaic novel in the afterworld.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press (Sept. 28 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930846355
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930846357
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,431,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Reminiscent of the Company stories of Kage Baker (who provides a glowing foreword), the individual tales that make up Bowes's "mosaic" novel add up to a relatively coherent alternate history of Greek gods, men, heroes and cyborgs. Apollo, Bacchus and Pluto have been having their fun for millennia, but just up the Time Stream disaster looms, so they have recruited lost children to become "Time Rangers," humans able to surf the Time Stream at will and perhaps change history to the gods' advantage. Various stories loosely follow the lives of three rangers as they fall in love with gods and each other, produce offspring important to the future and return to life from the Gate of Sighs. Also featured are Pluto's two godsons, who can sense death, a useful skill when avoiding gay serial killers and uncovering murderers. While the gods themselves are mostly seen from afar, by novel's end oracles, Furies and fate have all come together in a grand Telling for humanity's future. The interwoven plot lines are sometimes hard to follow, but the diligent reader will uncover a worthwhile, fantastic world.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Rick's work is gold, woven out of the straw, blood, sweat, fire, and ice of his observation."  —Kage Baker, from the foreword


"Richard Bowes has been one of  the pioneers in the field of 'urban fantasy.'"  —Terry Windling, coeditor, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology series


"Bowes' From the Files of the Time Rangers is on my personal list of the best novels of 2005."  —Green Man Review


"If you have enjoyed Kage Baker's tales of 'The Company'...you should also enjoy Richard Bowes' Time Rangers."  —Analog

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art from Chaos Aug. 18 2005
By Paul Witcover - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Richard Bowes' From the Files of the Time Rangers is an ambitious and satisfying novel by a writer of dazzling talents. What makes it so great, apart from the story itself, which I'll get to in a minute, is how it's told. Bowes presents snapshots of his characters and his plot in different times, and in realities that diverge from "reality" to varying degrees, scattering them through his narrative like pieces in a jumbled-up puzzle. Only gradually, as you read, do the pieces come together, and it's one of the joys of the novel to see its patterns and structure take shape before your eyes. Overall, the novel is speculative fiction, with gods and alternate histories and time travel, but Bowes pulls from other genres--mysteries, thrillers, noir, literary mainstream-so that Time Rangers is also a masterful mosaic of styles. You keep asking yourself, Can he really pull it off? But he does. Like the urbane Roman poet Ovid, to whom he tips his hat in an afterword, Bowes imposes order on chaos, and the results are glorious.

He's telling a story about America as a land of promises kept and broken, America as ground zero in a war between gods (mainly in Greek and Roman incarnations), humans, and strange machine intelligences of the far future who seem destined to replace them both. The machines are relentlessly pressing back the advent of their future triumph, so that it occurs earlier and earlier, while the gods are struggling desperately to hold on to what they've got. The Time Rangers of the novel's title are humans who serve the God Apollo; but there are also humans aligned with other gods, notably Mercury, Pluto (Godfather Death), Dionysus, Diana, and Ares (Lord Storm). Nor are the gods and their followers always allied with each other against the threat of the machines; on the contrary, the gods are as protean and volatile as mythology paints them--and Dionysus and Apollo, for example, have very different ideas about the best way to fight the machines. But this is merely the backdrop of the novel; it informs everything, yet Bowes' real story is elsewhere, in the dreams and aspirations of his human characters, in the lives they lead, which are, to a greater or lesser extent, shaped by the gods for their own purposes.

Thus we have the Timothy McCauley, groomed by the gods for the Presidency; Robert Logue, blessed/cursed by Godfather Death with the ability to sense the deaths of others; Nancy Kane, Ed Brown, and Jake Stockley, three young Rangers who in the course of the novel grow old and young and live and die and live again; and many, many others, a cast of Dickensian scope, each portrayed with sensitivity and acuity. Bowes writes with enviable economy and precision of detail: the amount of information and feeling he can convey in a seemingly simple sentence is truly amazing, and his narrative voice possesses unimpeachable authority yet is capable of devastating irony and profound sympathy. From the Files of the Time Rangers is his best book yet, a book I will unhesitatingly recommend to friends who read speculative fiction and to those who do not.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Postcards from the Time Stream Jan. 2 2008
By Esther Schindler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I wanted to love this book. I expected to love this book. But I just never warmed up to it.

The premise is great. It is, after all, stories told by and about Time Rangers, individuals who travel the time stream on behalf of the gods (we're talking Apollo and Diana here) to ensure that humanity makes the right choices and to tweak history into place. I was initially recommended this book because I loved Kage Baker's time travel stories, and it seemed to have some resonance with Gaiman's excellent American Gods: A Novel, and... well, I'm a fool for any kind of alternate history. So how could this fail?

_From the Files of the Time Rangers_ is told as a "mosaic" of stories, as the author describes in an afterward. Several such books manage to pull this off, the most successful of which is Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Kage Baker has also collected several short stories of The Company into book collections. I'm sure you can think of other examples.

But the key is that each of the winners is truly standalone but interlinked stories, each with clear beginnings, middles, and ends. This book made me feel as though an acquaintance had handed me a huge stack of photographs of people I didn't know. In my imagination, as I'd flip through the snapshots, I'd gradually realize that the people were connected, but they're still just photos of strangers.

Richard Bowes writes wonderful anecdotes and there are some characters that I really became very fond of, and I wanted to learn more about. But the "mosaic" was too random for my comfort, and there were too many snapshots of people I didn't know. I pushed my way through to the end of this book, but I had mostly lost interest halfway through.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip through history and back again July 31 2008
By Christopher Barzak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Richard Bowes' From the Files of the Time Rangers is one of those novels that fans of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles and J.G. Ballard's Vermillion Sands should check into. It's a novel in stories, each story able to stand on its own, but all becoming something different together. It's a mosaic structure that Bowes uses to take trips into the various corners of Western history, and it works beautifully. If you like your contemporary fiction to reflect the roots of where we came from, this book is for you. At once science fiction in its conceit of time travel, and fantasy in its methods. Time travel for Bowes seems to be an act of memory and remembrance. After reading this book, you'll have a hard time forgetting it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative July 26 2008
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This 'mosaic' novel was apparently pieced together form a series of short stories. The integration is surprisingly good and the quality of writing superior. Bowes presents an imaginative world in which time travel is possible both up and down history and also between alternative worldlines. There seems to be a main sequence and Gods, particularly the Olympian Pantheon, attempt to direct history. The overall thrust of the plot is the effort of some Gods and their human agents to direct the course of history in an ultimately beneficial way. Bowes' clever admixture of time travel, alternative history, and mythology brings something new to the genre.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Woman! Nov. 12 2005
By Tom L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A terrific book from this author, a dizzying spin along the Time Stream through history and alternate history reminiscent of River World and the Amber series. And a character that stands above all in recent Urban Fantasy and deserves her own novel - Lady Olivia Wexford. I plan to marry Lady Olivia.

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