About a month ago, I happened across an online write up of a newly published novel that sounded right up my street.... I'm a geocacher, and I love both historical- and science-fiction. So what's not to love about (gross over generalisation coming up.....) a story about time travelling cachers who visit the old Wild West?
This was the press release I had stumbled across, it was certainly enough to make me want to read the book:
It was breakthrough technology, but where would it lead them?
When Adam Hill of Overhill Engineering accepted the assignment to test the innovative device, he knew the project would be exciting, but this was far beyond his team’s expectations. A handheld navigation device with the ability to provide precise location information anywhere on earth—or anywhere in the universe—without the need of a supporting satellite system! “We’ve discovered some interesting anomalies that may actually enhance the unit’s functionality,” said Dr. Odan, the enigmatic inventor of the LANav device. “We need engineers who are familiar with hardware and software testing, as well as an aptitude for outdoor activities, such as backpacking, orienteering, and survival skills. They will also need practical knowledge of early American history.” As avid outdoorsmen and geocachers, Adam’s team was well suited to the project. Field testing the device would require them to travel to the remote mountains of northwest Georgia, where wilderness skills would understandably be required. But what possible need for knowledge of early American history could there be? They soon discover the device has the capability to lead them not only to any destination—but to any time—in this case May, 1838, the beginning of the Cherokee Indian Removal.
So off I skipped to Amazon.co.uk, to find that they only have a Kindle version available :( Boo! I'm one of those strange old fashioned people who prefers to read actual books made of actual paper.
Then, as I said, I struck lucky! I was able to make contact with the author, who generously sent me a review copy of the book, signed no less, so I was able to read it after all - hooooray!
And read it I did. In fact, devour might be a better word. I loved this book!
Now, I'm not sure how thoroughly I can review it without giving away too much of the plot. But suffice to say that it ticked all my boxes:
- there was lots of detail - I love detail! both technical / jargon detail about the fictitious GPS-like invention that's central to the plot, and also historical detail about the time period in which the bulk of the book is set, and the daily lives of the Cherokee.
- I really got to know - and care about - the characters. In fact I had a good weep at one point when something not so good happens to one of them. And that's always a good sign as it shows that the characters and story are completely believeable.
- the insight the novel gave me relating to the major historical event that the story revolves around - the Cherokee Indian Removal of 1838 - was absolutely fascinating.
- it was really refreshing to read a time travel story that wasn't obsessed with the whole paradox aspect, and the consequences for the future of making the tiniest change in the past.
- I liked the way that the main characters in the book were able to split up to go and have their own adventures, so that the storyline could cut from one to the other. It kept everything moving along at a perfect pace.
- it's a long book - large format and 600 pages - but it was quick and easy to read. If anything I wish it was a little longer as the ending felt almost unexpectedly sudden.
- you certainly don't need to be a geocacher to enjoy this novel, not at all - but the added twist of seeing my geeky hobby mentioned in print was fun for me
- and it was left wide open for a sequel - and I am SO keen to read more!
But anyway, you don't have to take my word for it, as I said I'd pass on the luck, didn't I?
So I'm going to send this book, autographed by the author, on to another lucky UK reader.
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning it is leave a comment on this blog post.
I will use a random number generator to choose the winner in one week - so that will be on Monday November 14th. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win (eg. email address, a link to your own blog, your geocaching name if you cache, etc).
And please note, the draw is open to UK residents only.
The random number generator chose number 3:
And the third commenter was Ally - so congratulations Ally!
I will be in touch to get your postal address, and will pop the book in the post ASAP