Friday, April 26, 2013

Artful Readers Club April - Pursuit of Liberty by Glenn R Petrucci

My book for this month is Pursuit of Liberty by Glenn R Petrucci, the sequel to Timecachers which I read, enjoyed and reviewed back in 2011

As with the first book, the author was kind enough to send me a copy, and it arrived just as I was putting my reading list together for the Artful Readers' Club, so it just had to go on the list

Those of you who know me well will know that geocaching is one of my hobbies - and that's what attracted me to these self-published books in the first place, as the heroes of the stories are fellow geocachers - that and the cool mix of two of my favourite genres - sci fi and historical fiction.

In a nutshell, the stories centre around the invention of a device called a LANav - which is just like a normal handheld GPS but with one rather useful additional feature - time travel!

The first book saw the four lead characters - male and female boffins, a historian (handy), and a wide boy who brings the funny - very unexpectedly transported back to 1830 and witnessing / taking part in the Cherokee Trail of Tears.  A lot of the dramatic tension in the first book was based around the fact that the four had no idea the LANav was a time travel device and therefore were entirely unprepared in every way for suddenly finding themselves in the past.

I did wonder how this new book would generate the same kind of suspense etc now that the story has moved on a year, and the characters now understand full well what the device can do.  But this was cleverly resolved by having the story open on the theft of one of the LANav units, the thief subsequently being unsuspectedly thrown back through time, and our four heroes having to chase him throughout colonial Boston, attempting to recover their property and apprehend the criminal before he does too much damage to the timeline.

Along the way they find themselves directly involved in many key events in American history including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the first battle of the American Revolution at Lexington

Like the first Timecachers novel, I enjoyed this book - it's written in a style that I respond well to, with plenty of historical and scientific detail, although that does occasionally get in the way of character development a little, even after two books I don't feel that I really know all of these characters well.  It was a great history lesson too - the author is American as are the majority of the intended audience for this book - so I got the impression that he did expect at least a basic knowledge of the events and historical figures mentioned, but it wasn't all lost on me - and I now know a lot more about the American Revolution than I did before.

All in all a good balance of entertainment and education - even if we Brits were the bad guys :) I look forward to book three!

And now onto this month's artwork - I'll admit that I was a bit stumped with what to do for this one, I was thinking along the lines of illustrating one of the big events described in the book - like the Boston Tea Party or Paul Revere's ride... but there is already so much great art old and new dedicated to these historical landmarks, that I didn't think I could compete!

So in the end I went with the time travel thing instead - not exactly true to the book as there is no vortex or anything when you travel back via the LANav - neither did anyone actually make the jump on horseback - but let's call it artistic licence :)

Next month I'll be reading and arting up "Rivers of London" by Ben Aaronovitch - I've already started it and am thoroughly enjoying it so far - so I'll see you in the merry merry month of May