Do you ever start a book , get a few pages in, recognize that you are inextricably hooked already and jump for joy when you realize there are 600 more pages left to savour?
That's exactly how I felt after the first two chapters of Félix J. Palma's novel The Map of Time.
It started off in one of my favourite time periods - Victorian England - with an unknown narrator telling us of a young man's visit to Whitechapel in 1888- the time of Jack the Ripper - and more.
"Yes, I know that when I began this tale, I promised there would be a fabulous time machine, and there will be, there will even be intrepid explorers and fierce native tribes - a must in any adventure story. But all in good time, isn't it necessary at the start of any game to place all the pieces on their respective squares first? Of course it is, in which case let me continue setting up the board, slowly but surely..."
At the heart of it all - Murray's Time Travel. Could the fourth dimension really have been discovered in 1896? ..."what was underneath the world, what was behind reality." Can the Murray Company really take travellers to the year 2000? All of Victorian England would like to believe so. Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and their futuristic novels are all the rage.
H. G. Wells plays a prominent role in this tale, as well as other historical figures including the Elephant Man, Henry James, Bram Stoker. Palma creates many other characters, all incredibly well drawn, leaping off the page and into my imagination with ease.
The book is written in three parts, with each part approaching time travel from a slightly different angle, with the third part tying it altogether. But not tying it all up with a neat little bow, for Palma plays with us many times throughout the 600+ pages. We are kept on our toes, wondering if time travel was/is possible....
There is no way to pigeonhole this book into any one genre. It is incredibly imaginative, ingenious, whimsical and addictive, combining history, mystery, romance, adventure and fantasy into a page turning, clever, keep you on your toes, thought provoking tale. What would you do if you could go back in the past or see what's coming in the future?
Palma is an absolutely fantastic storyteller. I was captured from first page to last. For those who are looking for something completely different, pick up The Map of Time, releasing today.