Time travel + Ancient Rome = this book is for me

New Pompeii

New Pompeii is a science fiction book whereby a quasi-evil corporation uses its newly found time travel abilities to pull forward a large group of Pompeiians right before Vesuvius’ eruption covers the city in ash. (Forget the fact that Pliny documents how the city’s inhabitants fled en masse – that’s waved away with a sentence or two.)

It’s a completely serviceable, readable book that was catnip to me because I love reading about both Ancient Rome and time travel. It is not a great book, but I found a number of little touches well done: the Pompeiians wondering¬†why are the carrots orange; the modern folks noticing how disfigured all the ancients are (health care was a lot different); the Romans living up to their world-conquering reputation. (Ok, that last one’s not so little.)

I’m not sure the plot resolution holds together; but: time travel. It almost never makes sense. I found it to be a fine book, your milage may vary.

Time travel as a hook

river of no return

 

What’s it about?
The River of No Return is a novel about a lovesick time-traveler. Nick was a minor English lord who went off to fight against the Spanish. Just as he was about to be killed, he leapt forward in time to the present day. He encounters a group of people called The Guild who help people like Nick. He establishes himself as a landlord in Vermont, when the Guild asks him to go back in time to England. He re-falls in love with his neighbor Julia, who, it turns out, may be able to help forestall the end of the world.

Why should you read it?
If it hadn’t been my book for book club this month, I’m not sure I would have. It was a fine book, but nothing to write home about. ¬†It does set up a sequel, so I have my usual issues with it not being a complete story. Otherwise, eh?