The River of No Return. Bee Ridgway. Penguin Group (USA). April 2013. 464 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780525953869.
“Time flows like a river and it seems as if each of us is carried relentlessly along by time’s current. But time is like a river in another way. It flows at different speeds in different places and that is the key to traveling into the future,” British Cosmologist Steven Hawking writes. Bee Ridgway has taken Hawking’s theory and gone one step more in her amazing new novel. Time and speed may be, as the main characters come to realize, also connected to intense emotional energy. This novel certainly suggests that as the main protagonist, Nicholas Davenant or Lord Blackdown, “jumps” from 1800s Spain to 2013 London, eventually settling in America. He has been trained to survive in this new life by the Guild, a secret group who help time-jumpers like Nicholas adjust to the new environment, including clothes, language, manners, culture, and so so much more!
However, just as Nicholas is settling in, with the only thing bothering him the face and appearance of a mysterious black-haired girl whose mysterious presence has helped him survive his terrible war memories, he is called back to England by the Guild who is going to send him on a secret mission with a burly Russian Guild member. Their job is to find the Olfan, another group who have mastered time travel but have other ways of accessing the future and past. The question as the story progresses becomes murky as Nicholas, now the Marquess Blackdown, cannot tell who is friend and who is foe. Also when he meets Julie, his next-door neighbor, she is being held prisoner and at the same time discovers she possesses phenomenal powers regarding this time jumping issue. She and Blackdown are increasingly drawn closer to each other but go no further because of the mystery that needs to be solved.
For what if those capable of jumping into the future encounter an unsolvable problem? Can all of the Guild and Olfan members stop this new aspect of time that is life-threatening, to say the least? Why are so many people after Blackdown and Julia? Should Blackdown participate in a historically significant law vote that could destroy his own aristocratic world or free it with dramatic effects that will last for centuries?
There is much more in this amazing fantasy novel that also has a touch of history, plenty of magical moments, intense high-pressure scenes where foes fight to the finish…
Read The River of No Return for a strong tension-filled plot, stereotypical characters who surmount their boring peerage definition and those with immense intelligence who help our main characters wait at appropriate moments and lurch forward into action during quieter moments!
Great story with page-flipping drama, adventure, thrills, romance, history and overall great fun! Very, very nicely done, Ms. Ridgway!!!