The Map of Time is an extremely busy book that provokes the mind in many exciting ways. At one and the same time, it celebrates the advances of knowledge not just in the year 1888, but in what would be the imagined world of a much more recent time—the year of 2000. To enjoy this story, the reader must accept the somewhat primitive but scientific advances of an era over one hundred years ago. Let your imagination reign free.
Wealthy Andrew Harrington falls madly in love with a lowly but beautiful prostitute. He visits her each night where he pays her for an entire night of sexual indulgence rather than just a few minutes/hours. Love develops; powerful love. To his horror, Andrew arrives at his beloved’s single room flat to find her shredded by the knife of Jack the Ripper, his fifth victim.
Maddened, Andrew uses the help of H.G. Wells and his contrived time machine to take himself back in time to prevent his true love’s murder. Wells accepts the challenge. Andrew slips back to the night of her killing and in self-defense after being stabbed, he kills Jack the Ripper. Anxiously, he expects events to be changed when he returns to his own time. But there are problems.
In The Map of Time, Wealthy Clair Haggerty pays an enormous sum to Murray’s Time Travel to witness a battle in the year 2000 where a heroic struggle takes place to save the earth. Entering 2000, all of London appears destroyed. As Clair watches an epic display of swordsmanship, an Adonis like human figure destroys the leader of the mechanical robots who are liquidating the human species from the planet.
Refusing to return to her own time, Clair does not re-enter Murray’s Time Travel machine. She slips away hoping to rendezvous with the warrior hero whose physical presence has obsessed her. Luck does not hold. Captured, she is forced back into the time machine—but she has accidently left behind her parasol.
Back in her own time, her hero attempts to return her umbrella. Now he falls madly in love with Clair whose only desire is to return back to 2000 with him. Her Adonis-like lover seeks H.G. Wells help in realigning the time periods of their two universes. But there are problems.
In part three of The Map of Time, H.G. Wells himself must use his wits to save one of his own classic manuscripts—The Invisible Man. Why? Only Wells and his wife have read the tale. Yet in London above the body of a dead man, Wells finds the first lines of his manuscript scribbled. Someone knows the entirety of Wells classic story even before it is completely written. H.G. Wells wants to time travel to find out how this could be possible. But there are problems.
The Map of Time, while written in three singular parts, is in truth a neat cohesive whole. Each part intercepts the others, quite often as a surprise, including the very last two chapters of the book. The author’s characters are well drawn; the scenes are well played out and vividly described. As a whole, I found the book fascinating. Each part is long enough for readers to get inside the heads and feelings of important characters.
I would highly recommend The Map of Time to readers who like fiction where historical figures come alive to act out astonishing, but imaginary and motivating roles appropriate for their fame in their own time.
If the book seems a bit long and/or wordy, I’m convinced it was the intention of author Felix A. Palma to pen prose suitable for Victorian era writers and readers. In many ways, this very descriptive language truly drew me into his story much like some of the classical Victorian literature of long ago.