A River Called Time

Akashic Bks. Apr. 2021. 448p. ISBN 9781617759260. $28.95. SF
Set in a dystopian London parallel, A River Called Time uncovers the truth about the Ark, a structure that was built to provide a haven for the aristocracy, yet is revealed to be much more disturbing. Markriss Denny has worked hard to win a spot inside the Ark. His enthusiasm wanes immediately when he’s assigned a job revolving around political uprising and government deception. Markriss’s only path forward is to embrace a newly discovered secret ability to leave his body and experience parallel universes beyond physical limitations.
VERDICT Newland’s (The Gospel According to Cane) premise and his alternative world where Africa was not colonized by Europe are intriguing, however the plot is slow going and never quite reaches the potential teased from the beginning. Newland’s writing is stylish but tends to be overly descriptive, making the explanation of Markriss’s travels to parallel universes confusing and hard to follow. Markriss is a difficult protagonist to connect with, only adding to the disjointed feel of the book. Clearly a missed opportunity on the author’s part. Library collections should pass on this one.
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