*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Six separated Travelers, each facing trouble of their own.
A malfunction of the supposedly fixed master time-travel device sends Matt and Page to 1912 San Francisco—only days apart, though that will make all the difference—and lands Turner in the middle of a desert in 1962. Meanwhile, Nye is left alone to conduct her research in the New York City of 2003, where she’s mistaken for a terrorist, as Anya goes back to the summer of 2000 to try to change her personal past—with disastrous results…
The series continues with Book 3: Uncertain Murder, Book 4: Prohibited Activities, and Book 5: Temporal Entanglement.
Centenary Separation is the second novel in the Watchbearer’s series and, while I always recommend reading a series in order to get the full backstory and development, James Litherland has provided a nifty summary at the beginning to catch readers up on events so far, so you can hit the ground running with this one if you wish.
Speaking of hitting the ground running, the time travelling research team are having to do exactly that! Having pretty much assembled most of the team by the end of the previous book, they all split into smaller groups again to go their separate ways. Anya, Nye and Tate plan to return to their research goals from base camp, whilst Turner and Page (and Verity and Matt, who are ‘civilians’ involved with the group) plan to test the restored time travelling devices with a quick trip back and forth in time.
Unfortunately, as is becoming a regular occurrence, the devices malfunction and scatter the four travellers across time and America. With hitmen, the FBI, suffragettes, lawyers, pregnancies and the Spanish Flu to deal with, the travellers have to somehow solve their own individual problems in isolation and work out how they can reconnect with each other to continue their mission goals.
This instalment of the series is more developed than the first – which provided a lot of the set up for the scenario and characters. I particularly enjoyed Matt, Verity and Nye’s threads in the story, as they brought in some elements of mystery, suspense and some high personal stakes. (Yes, Matt is a more empathetic character than when we last met him… clearly some space from Page has done his moral integrity some good!)
There were a couple of brief moments where I struggled to fully suspend my disbelief in events, as when Page performs an unusual ‘medical’ procedure which caused me to snigger rather childishly, but ultimately I accepted it as ‘future tech/knowledge’ at work. Other than such minor quibbles, I got pretty involved and invested in this story and the characters and how their various adventures might pan out.
This is a well-crafted and skilfully plotted sci-fi series with some action-packed mystery and thriller threads woven through it, and a touch of romance. Time travel fans will want to set their watches for the next instalment. Sorry… couldn’t resist the time travel joke! Books 3-5 are actually already available for this series, so that should keep you ticking over until the next one lands. 😉
Once they’d arrived in two thousand three, Anya would still have weeks to plan before she passed the three-year limit, to be able to make the journey in one trip. After that she could still try, but multiple trips would only add unnecessary complications and create more room for error—not the best notion when she had no idea what the consequences would be if she were to succeed in changing the past. She didn’t like to think about what might happen if she failed to save the professor.
– James Litherland, Centenary Separation
Centenary Separation is available on Amazon right now! Plus you can find my thoughts about other works by the same author here: Political Homicide; Durable Impressions & Critical Contingencies, Millennium Crash, Threat Multiplication.