Realistic characters, a well-defined setting, and sure-handed storytelling sum up to a novel that is sure to capture readers’ imaginations.
Die Back, the first installment in Alchimeia series by Richard Hacker, is an intelligent and convincing blend of classic science fiction and historical reconstruction. The book deals with Addison Shaw’s time-travelling jaunts from the twenty-first-century back to ancient Alexandria and other places. It’s been six hundred years after a fifteenth-century scryer gained the alchemical knowledge to create a dark future in his own image. After death of his father Thomas Shaw, an inker: an individual who has the ability to travel in past while leaving his body behind with the help of a special pen, Addison is forced to step in his father’s shoes and fight the dark forces whose interfering may change the course of the history. After losing both his fellow inker and his mentor to enemies’ sinister machinations and his world falling in chaos, it becomes clear that Addison has to fight alone and win at any cost. Hacker’s writing is skilled and precise. Despite all the technical mumbo jumbo that have to be part of a science fiction book, he manages a complex plot without losing narrative force and successfully crafts a story that’s easy to follow. The story never gets bogged down by any long-winded explanations of time travel. Hacker has fun mixing the classic elements of science fiction into historical occurrences. The characters are mostly run-of-the-mill but interesting. It’s enjoyable to watch Jule and Addison evolve as the story moves forward. Despite a slow beginning, the pace picks up fairly fast, and Hacker succeeds in keeping the momentum intact throughout the book. There’s plenty of tension, particularly with Jule’s murder in the present and her consciousness trapped in an Inca princess five hundred years in the past while Addison tries to bring her back. Hacker expertly balances the intrigue of the story with action and uses short shifts in time to keep the storyline going awry. The short episodes detailing inkers’ exploitations into the past help to intensify tension and provide a focus for the reader. With its intriguing storyline and tight plotting, this first installment in the Alchimeia series will make hard-core science fiction fans wait eagerly for the next book in the series. This entertaining time-travel tale stuffed with elements of science fiction and historical references will appeal to every science fiction buff.
Die Back (Alchimeia #1)
by Richard Hacker
PUB DATE May 9, 2018
PRICE $14.98 (USD)