A brilliant novel about time travel, but not the usual book found under the Science Fiction category. It is one that might best be categorized under social commentary similar to “Gulliver’s Travels.”
It opens in the year 1348 with the pestilence known as the “black death” rampant throughout the known world. Brothers John and William, residents of England, and frightened for their lives, as well as seeking redemption before death, are given a strange choice by an unknown entity. They can either go home and die with their families or seek redemption during six days. These six days to be spent moving forward in time by 99 years each day. Both brothers agree that they would rather travel in time than go home and die.
They suddenly find themselves in the year 1447 and notice the differences between this period and the one they came from. There are small changes, but noticeable ones and so it is as they move forward 99 years every night. A calendar based on periods BC and AD is utilized by all, clocks are invented. Guns as weapons of war are evolving, the new world is discovered and most important things that they took for granted in 1348 prove to be short lived. They interact with people in each period and find them the same but different due to the influences prevalent in the time period they are living in.
Mortimer, a noted historian in his own right, has succeeded in bringing each period visited to vibrant life allowing the reader to experience that time and the people living there. A memorable novel and a fascinating read.
1/18 Paul Lane
THE OUTCASTS OF TIME by Ian Mortimer. Pegasus Books (January 2, 2018). ISBN 978-1681776163. 400p.