I wish I knew why I always feel like the story is stalling out about two thirds of the way through any of McDevitt’s work that I read, but every time I stick with it and ride the story to the end I find that the journey was well worth the effort of moving past that stalling point. Once more his story drew me into the characters, and the characters drew me into the ever unfolding story. Not many authors write such that I actually care about the characters, and start to think of them as actual human beings rather than simply characters in a story, but McDevitt seems to accomplish this feat with ease. In the end it is these characters, and the desire to find out what happens to them that drives me past the point where I wonder if it is worth the effort to continue reading. As always, in the end I find myself happy to have made the effort, and I find that the story comes to a logical conclusion.
This particular story tackles the concept of time travel in a very deft manner. Rather than trotting out pseudo-science to explain how or why it works he simply presents it for what it is and moves the story forward. So many other time travel stories that I have read deal with some sort of militant treatment of time travel, harping on the dangers of uncontrolled use or the abuse of it. McDevitt touches on the dangers, but that is all he does with it. Instead of some hard hitting action packed romp in another era we find ourselves following the travels of the primary characters as they simply explore different eras of history.
The concept of this approach seems simple, even potentially boring, but McDevitt’s deft handling of the story is such that I had no trouble actually feeling like it was possible. The characters did what I likely would have done when presented with the possibilities.
Is this a book that I will add to my Must Have list? No, I don’t think so, even though it was an enjoyable read. Do I feel enriched by having read the story? Yes, without any doubt I feel that the journey was well worth the trip.