Book review: The Map of Time

Those who know me know I love historical novels, and The Map of Time definitely delivers. Set in late 1890s London and featuring H. G. Wells as a character, the novel takes the reader on a journey from Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel through to a future of time travel. It is clever, with twists that had me considering the next possible outcome during the times I could not be reading (oh, that dastardly job of mine!).

The author, Felix Palma, wrote the book in Spanish, which I find intriguing in itself. We English-speaking nations don’t generally consider that “other people” might be fascinated with the social mores and scientific discoveries of 19th century England. Mr Palma definitely painted what I believe to be an accurate portrait of the time and was able to believably describe both the lowest classes of prostitutes and the highest classes of the wealthy elite.

The novel is structured as three intertwined stories, all involving the concept of time travel, which H. G. Wells wrote about so famously in his novel The Time Machine, published in 1885. It simultaneously questions the consequences of changing the past as well as exploring the daily lives and loves of its protagonists. Some of the plot lines were so well developed that no detail was left untouched, all the way to exposing one of the source of one character’s fortune having come from the importation of toilet paper – an irony that is both hilarious and revealing of his inner compass.

It’s a bit of steampunk, a bit of history, a bit of science fiction, and a bit of romance, all smash together quite well. It will have you secretly trying out Victorian vernacular while you wax poetical on the possibilities of the 4th dimension. I highly recommend this one!

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