"You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return." Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. Read more...
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"You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return." Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild's enemies and to find something called the Talisman.
In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: "Pretend " Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-01-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Ridgway makes her debut with an accomplished if sometimes slow-going literary mash-up. In the midst of battle, Lord Nicholas Falcott suddenly jumps 200 years into the future. Finding himself in 2003, Lord Nicholas forges a new life as “Nick Davenant” and serves in a time-traveling secret society known as the Guild. But 10 years after he jumped, Nick is told he’s being sent back to 1815 on a vital mission. While investigating the Guild’s enemies and hunting for the invaluable Talisman, he’s reunited with his sweetheart, Julia Percy, who’s just started to discover time-traveling gifts of her own. But a war over the past and the fate of the future, as well as desperate attempts to find the Talisman and use it to avert catastrophe, promises either to bring Nick and Julia together or tear them apart. Ridgway offers a well-crafted blend of science fiction, romance, mystery, and historical fiction, but stumbles with overlong explanations that, while helpful in untangling the story’s convolutions, stall the plot. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Apr.)
Love and the secrets of time
Fantasies that span centuries, time travel, epic romances, secret societies and ancient conspiracies—Bee Ridgway’s debut novel has all of these things, but despite these familiar tropes, The River of No Return provides some exhilarating surprises.
Nobleman Nick Falcott died on a Napoleonic battlefield in 1812. Or at least, that’s what everyone in 1812 thinks. Somehow, Nick actually jumped forward in time to the year 2003, where a mysterious organization known as the Guild took him in, taught him how to live in the 21st century, and told him he could never return to either his own time or place. Ten years later, Nick is suddenly summoned by the Guild and asked to break the rules and travel back to the year 1815 in search of a mysterious Talisman, something of great power that the Guild must find before its enemies, the Ofan, get their hands on it.
In 1815, Falcott’s former neighbor Julia Percy is grieving the loss of her extraordinary grandfather and suffering under the yoke of his heir, her cousin Eamon, when she finds that she’s been blessed with an incredible gift. When Nick returns, suddenly back from the dead, Julia finds that his mission and her gift are linked, and the two embark on an adventure across time to unravel the secrets of the Guild, the Ofan and the Talisman.
Establishing a firm set of rules for the way time travel works is arguably the most important part of building a story like The River of No Return, but too many restrictions can turn a story stale before it even gets started. It’s a fine line to walk, and though this is her first attempt, Ridgway navigates it like a master. Her tale and the world she’s crafted unfold gracefully and compellingly through precise yet lush prose. The result is a novel that fans of hardcore fantasy and literary fiction alike can get behind. The River of No Return is a gorgeous, sweeping debut that is easy to get lost in.