This fast-paced blend of mystery, thriller, and detective story is brimming with curiosity and enthusiasm. Though the cast of characters is large, each is unique and well-crafted. Readers will find handsome and intelligent—if conflicted—Clarkson especially appealing and enjoy the subtle banter between the gritty, determined pair of gumshoes Stanley Young and Ed Dawson. Though the dialogue is occasionally weighed down by exposition, transitions between subplots and cities are easy to follow. It’s less clear exactly how Speyer’s visions work, but their ambiguity adds to the intrigue, and Cardone keeps readers guessing until the very last paragraphs of the book.
The mysteries of the present and those of the past are well-balanced throughout the story. A deep love for history and historical research lies at its heart, and Cardone invents detailed, interesting context for each of the proposed alternative histories. The wide range of historical figures who come up, from Madam C.J. Walker to Aristander of Telmessos, may offer new information, even to students of history. This well-paced page-turner offers an intriguing, imaginative take on the secret sources of human achievement, and adventurous, open-minded readers will enjoy Cardone’s entertaining ramble through the hypotheticals of history.
Takeaway: This bold conspiracy thriller finds a present-day heroine surveying history through (literal) fresh eyes.
Great for fans of: Matthew Reilly, Raymond Khoury.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-