Posts Tagged ‘Time Shards’

Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

March 23, 2018 - 7:16 pm No Comments

Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

Published by Titan Books on 30th January 2018

442 pages

Reviewed by Chris Stocks

Imagine that spacetime, rather than being continuous, is like a stack of jigsaw puzzles, with each puzzle being an instant in time. Imagine further, as per the premise of this SF thriller, that some unknown temporal Event breaks up these jigsaws into random pieces and stitches the world together again. The result is a patchwork landscape consisting of pieces of varying shape and size, all in the right place geographically, but torn from a random era of history, from the Silurian to the present – and possibly beyond.

Initially the narrative is as fractured as the landscape, told from the viewpoints of a variety of people, some of whom are historical figures, including George Washington, Julius Caesar and Neil Armstrong. However, after these brief episodes illustrating the scope and effects of the Event, the action is then mostly confined to south-east England as seen through the eyes of a smaller cast of characters including Amber, a feisty present-day Californian, currently living in Essex; Blake, a grizzled World War II and ex-SAS veteran from the 1950s; Cam, a young Celtic warrior from pre-Roman Britannia, and Alex Brice, a policewoman from 1985.

Together with a small group of other survivors, they navigate the post-apocalyptic landscape, struggling against fearsome prehistoric predators – from carnivorous dinosaurs to dire wolves and giant scorpions. But, as so often happens in such scenarios, their most dangerous foes are not these creatures but other humans. Here it is a group of Roundhead soldiers, who, mistakenly believing that they caused the Event, want to burn them at the stake as witches and warlocks.

The group rescues ‘Merlin’, a mysterious, catatonic character from these Roundheads. Recovering from an apparently fatal headwound, he reveals himself as a near-future astronomer. He also claims to know something about the cause of the temporal Event – and maybe a way to reverse it…

This is the first book in a trilogy by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald. It is an exciting, fast-moving story with an interesting set of characters, an unusual setting and plenty of monsters – both animal and human. There are a few technical inaccuracies – for example, George Washington could not have identified a herd of elephant-like creatures as Mastodons in 1789, as this term was not coined by Cuvier until 1806 (thanks, Wikipedia!) – but this doesn’t really matter. This is not a work of hard-SF, but a rollicking adventure – and as an adventure story it works superbly. The protaganists are interesting and (mostly) sympathetic, and I enjoyed both the surrealistically patchwork setting and the break-neck pace of the plot. Time Shards ends on a suitably suspenseful cliff-hanger and I look forward to seeing where the adventure leads in the second volume. In summary, a fast-paced read and a thoroughly enjoyable piece of escapism.