25th March 2016
It's years since I read a Ben Elton novel, and although I was recommended this by a friend and bought a copy quite a long time ago I've only just got around to picking it up to read. This is a story of a military man from 2024, recruited by a secret organisation to head back in time and make a single change to save the world. And it's great.
Elton's earlier works that I've read were mostly about the humour, and I don't recall picking up anything deeper (although on reflection it was probably there), but this is a much more grounded novel that for the most part takes itself very seriously, yet still had the occasional moment of levity.
I found the whole setup very compelling and read through the whole story in just a couple of days, racing to find out what was going to happen. I felt that some aspects of the narrative moved much more quickly than I was expecting, but it becomes clear later that this is so that the later elements become more notable.
There are some great twists, although some of them are obvious from very early on and I was just waiting from page to page for them to come along. In the other hand though some twists that I thought were obvious never materialised. Some of the narrative however felt quite clumsily written. Some exposition felt rushed and as if it were just being told by the narrator rather than being revealed by the story, and I felt this cheapened some key moments.
Overall though a brilliant read and one I'd be tempted to revisit again with knowledge of the end to try to catch anything I missed earlier in the tale. Makes me tempted to look out for some more of the authors output.