Al's Reviews > The Empire of Time

The Empire of Time by Crawford Kilian
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May 22, 11

Read in May, 2011

In a world where time travel is normal and the population is split between people who can be trained to learn rapidly (“trainables”) and those who can’t, Jerry Pierce is one of the fortunate trainables. He’s also a highly-trained, and “hyped” to triple his already fast reaction time, agent of change.
Jerry’s job is to alter history, often using brutal methods.

The main problem facing the human race is the impending destruction of Earth. No one knows how it will happen, but 72 years in the future, Earth is just a lifeless cinder.

Massive deportation of un-trainables to various times in the far past allows them to live full “normal” lives, but most resent it.

But Jerry’s boss may have found the reason and a solution. And Jerry is supposed to handle that. The problem is, that, as usual, Jerry has no idea what he’s supposed to do nor why. The information has been programmed into him, but he won’t know until the triggering moment presents itself. Maybe he’ll kill someone when he encounters him, or blow something up, but he doesn’t know.

Until he meets Anita !Kosi, an Australian Aborigine from the far past with unusual talents.

I had trouble staying awake through the first part of the story. Not entirely the book’s fault (I was tired anyway). However, a really good book would not have done that to me, even if I were very tired. In 1978 when this was published, you could still get by with a slow start. But today’s reader has gotten used to “fast starts” (except for disaster stories) and demands instant immersion into the main plot (or at least some action or problem that will draw them into the tale.

The latter half of the tale is engaging enough, but the end sort of dies with a whimper and never fulfills the “promise” of the action that precedes it.

I purchased this at a used bookstore in return for two books I was no longer interested in owning (and taking up room in my shelves). But I doubt if I’d pay even the original $1.75 cover price to acquire it. In fact, it’s going into my “trading” bag.
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