Hugh Stanton is barely alive. He is hearty and healthy enough, but he has no reason to live since his wife and children were murdered. It is just because of the slightest chance in his atheist heart, that there might be a heaven and hell, that keeps him from suicide. So he wanders and drifts, waiting for his time to die. He answers a summons from an old professor, because he literally has nothing better to do. It is there that he is asked the questions:
“What would you consider to be the greatest mistake in world history?” And, “What’s your best shot?”
It is those “what ifs” that revs the engine of Time And Time Again by Ben Elton.
Truthfully, Ben Elton had me at “time travel.” I never met a reluctant heroic protagonist hurtling through time I didn’t like. Professor McCluskey gives Stanton the opportunity via a secret invention by Sir Isaac Newton (a character in the novel), not to change the worst moment in his life, but to stop a single bullet and change history – stop the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinanad, and prevent World War I. What are the consequences of stopping the bloodiest war in human history thus far? We know that WWII would never have happened, nor the rise of the Nazis. Or would they? The butterflies that come are unexpected and fascinating.
Stanton is just about the most heroic anti-hero you ever did meet. He drinks too much and smokes too much, yet also tries not to mess with history too much, while he trains for this mission. This part is predictable. Things go awry, of course.
This novel is quite the fast-paced page turner. You will find it hard to put down. Elton takes you to the past and future, with minimal confusion. This book is great from all sorts of angles, even historical buffs will enjoy the accurate descriptions and details in this historical fiction.
I obviously cannot give away the ending, but you will definitely enjoy the twists to get there.
If you had one chance to change history…Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you kill?
In Time and Time Again, international best-selling author Ben Elton takes readers on a thrilling journey through early 20th-Century Europe.
It’s the first of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.
Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.
Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century? And, if so, could another single bullet save it?