The Map of Time

The-Map-of-Time

Title

  • The map of time : a novel / Félix J. Palma ; translated by Nick Caistor.

Authors

Publication Info

  • New York : Atria Books, 2011.

ISBN

  • 9781439167397 : HRD $26.00
  • 1439167397 : HRD $26.00

Length

  • 611 p.

Alternate Titles

  • Mapa del tiempo. English

Available Formats

  • Hardcover
  • Paperback
  • eBook

Originally published in Spanish.

Rating

4Q, 4P

A skeptical H. G. Wells gets caught up in time travel schemes to save two lives, then discovers a plot to murder famous authors and steal their manuscripts.

Summary

Aristocrat Andrew Harrington falls for a common East End prostitute, Marie Kelley. When Marie is murdered by Jack the Ripper, Andrew’s cousin convinces the despairing Andrew to turn to Gilliam Murray, owner of Murray’s Time Travel, and H. G. Wells, author of The Time Machine, to help him turn back time and change those events.

Claire Haggerty longs to escape her dreary life and the boring suitors her parents keep introducing to her. A trip to the year 2000 with Murray’s Time Travel seems the answer to her prayers. There, she is sure she will meet and fall in love with the heroic Captain Derek Shackleton.

H. G. Wells, whose novel The Time Machine stirred the craze for time travel, really does not believe such travel is possible, yet he finds himself caught up in strange events. When his life is threatened and an unbelievable letter arrives, Wells must decide what is true and what future he really wants.

Evaluation

Set in Victorian times, the novel has elements of steampunk. There are multiple plot points only loosely joined together, so that the first two parts could have been stand-alone novellas; however, it provides plenty of interesting plot twists. There is a lot happening in this book, from the gore of Jack the Ripper to love stories to con artists to great literary figures. While the plotting is a little messy, the prose is good, and overall it is a fairly enjoyable read. One odd element is the presence of the narrator in the story. He becomes another character, all-seeing and all-present. Steampunk fans and time travel fans will enjoy this book.

Here are some more reviews for other perspectives:

Goodreads

Washington Post

Kirkus

Author

As Felix J. Palma is Spanish, his website is in Spanish, but can be enjoyed with use of translator programming. Felix J. Palma

Genres

Science Fiction/Fantasy; Steampunk

Readalikes

The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers. Complex time-travel plots, literary figures, blend of fantasy and sci-fi.

Time After Time, by Karl Alexander. Time machines, Jack the Ripper, and H. G. Wells figure in both stories.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, by Natasha Pulley. Both set in Victorian England with characters lives intersecting through time travel.

Awards

2008 XL Ateneo de Sevilla Novela Prize

Booktalk Ideas

A booktalk could focus on the story of one of the first two parts of three (the third would give away too much of the ending). There are also some fascinating characters that would make good character-focused booktalks. H. G.Wells is at the heart of the story and is a well-known literary figure. Gilliam Murray, owner of the time travel company is an eccentric figure. For reasons I won’t give away, Captain Derek Shackleton is also interesting.

Book Discussion Questions

What did you think of the author’s use of the narrator as a character? Would the story have been different without this?

What did you think of Well’s decision to take part in deceiving Andrew and Claire? Did he make the right choice?

If you could travel in time, would you do it? To when would you most want to travel?

Why I Chose This Book

I pulled this book as a hold for a library patron. The cover looked very interesting, and the description of a plot involving time travel and literary characters intrigued me.

Memory Cues

H. G. Wells; time travel; Murray’s Time Travel; Captain Derek Shackleford; automatons

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