It’s a sobering thought to think that some things don’t change, even after 500 years; there are still unscrupulous, arrogant, and fraudulent criminals around. Even more sobering is the prospect that, due to virulent diseases created by the 2065 collapse of the eco-system which completely wiped out the male of the species, the new post-collapse ‘Empire’ is overseen by a small group of women, the Guardians. They are aided by the Planetary Control Corps, the military contingent of the Empire, also run by women.
The arrogant criminal in this story is Galen Bestmarke who has bribed a genius engineer, Louis Franelli, to work with him. Louis has developed a system of time travel which Galen intends to use for his own unscrupulous gains and 'trophies'. The Guardians, however, need Louis and his expertise – Louis has to be separated from Galen and enticed to help the Guardians who believe that time travel will help them save mankind, now desperately close to extinction.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The pace kept me keen and interested but never lost me, and the characters were all strong. I liked the fact that they were not ‘robotic’ – in the emotional sense. The women had feelings, ambitions, and heart, which gave balance to the timeframe – life in 2500 is really quite unimaginable. It is a well-written book (though a little editorially slack), and the story unfolded methodically and comprehensibly.
There is a very neat little glossary at the end, explaining and defining various Empire/space terms, phrases, geography, etc., which I thought was a nice touch – I think I would have preferred it at the beginning, however. I had no idea it was there until I had finished the book. Had it been at the beginning, I would have been aware of its existence, and I would have been able to refer to it usefully.
This book didn’t get me rushing to seek out everything Trekkie, but Mr Schofield has certainly whetted my sci-fi appetite. I look forward to more from Paul.