Author: Andrew Hastie
Do you know what is the best thing about this book? That is not only one book but a series of books. Therefore, now when I finished reading the Anachronist I don’t have to take a few days to decide which #timetravel book to read next while impressions of the completed book settle down. I can just continue reading these beauties.
In this book, we meet our main character, Josh Jones, popularly also known as Crash who lives a life of poverty and exclusion. His mother has MS and he has to look after her. As cannabis soothes her pain, Josh ends up in debt to the local dealer Richard (known as Lenin) and this causes all sort of issues that follow him throughout the book. As Josh lives a life of poverty he is prone to crime to survive while also trying to attend the school. Since he has undiagnosed dyslexia attending school is rather difficult and his marks go down, thus further pushing him towards the life of crime. His life is also marked by the death of his best mate who died during one of the many times when they stole a car and then raced back to sell it.
However, when Josh steals a gold medal from a quirky old neighbour known as the Colonel (due to his peculiar dressing style) he falls into the past and finds himself in Nazi Germany preventing the Hitler’s murder. He then discovers that he has an extraordinary ability to time travel when he touches objects from the past. Colonel takes him on as his apprentice and we start the journey of the time travel throughout British history (e.g. the Victorians apparently knew how to bake so the Colonel goes to Victorian times to get biscuits; he also prefers vegetables from the 1900s, etc) and we also learn about the reality of the poor in Britain. The latter is a nice touch as the author engages with criticism of inequality in British society. The debate on Hitler in the book is also a nice touch, as many time travel writers and novelists debated this ethical issue. In this book, the debate is whether killing Hitler would end up with the complete destruction of humanity and whether it would be ethical to kill Hitler as a baby. Thus, Josh accidentally prevents his murder and contemplates ethical implications of million people dying because of his action that made the war last until 1945 instead of 1944.
The time travel tale of the author is also very interesting. Time travellers can travel back in time by touching historical objects but also by using special watches that can also be used to reset and rewind time. We also get to know the Guardians of time or several Orders that look after the Continuum and monitor changes to the past. Copernicans, for example, calculate probabilities of every action, Antiquarians catalogue everything that happens, but there are also those with extraordinary abilities who can read everyone’s timeline and of course, there are some villains known as Determinists who think we should not change the timeline but believe there is a fate that should take control of our lives without human interference…
The order has existed for centuries and worked in secret and they continually change and alter the timeline to achieve the best possible outcome and prevent human extinction due to human’s self-destructive tendencies. People who can time travel according to the author’s vision are non-linears and have a different life journey, much longer too, than linears. This notion of linears and non-linears is a nice touch where the author borrowed from Darwin, and thus the life span of average people is linked to linear progress in one’s timeline (as per Darwin’s ‘Origins of Species’) whereas the author in this book also introduces the non-linears who have a different evolution and different timelines, thus also introducing the concept of supra-natural abilities.
The book is not just a time travel story of exploring the past. It is also a thriller because Josh has to fight Lenin who harasses him about the debt from cannabis, which skyrocketed since Josh failed to pay on time. In addition, Josh meets other time travellers including Caitlin he falls in love with and her friends. Therefore, for the first time, he has a gang where he belongs to or a gang where he is not a member through ransom but a gang that he genuinely wants to be in. But, the villains want to destroy them and stop them from time travelling due to their determinist beliefs…
There is an explanation of what the book series is about on author’s website where he also explains his writing journey (some very interesting blog posts btw): https://www.infinityengines.com/
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other time travel lovers.
Thank you for reading.