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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Fiction

Cover Art: Pirates of the Timestream
Pirates of the Timestream
By Steve White
Baen, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4767-3677-8, US $7.99 / CAN $9.99
Also available in e-book format

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The last thing one expects to find in Haiti in 1791 is a space ship, but that’s exactly what a group of time-traveling historians and archaeologists uncover while studying the origins of the revolution that founded the New World’s second independent nation. They also seek information of a secret, perverted cult with links to Jamaica during the 1660s. When the Temporal Regulatory Authority (TRA) learns of this, they deem it disturbing enough to send a second team back in time to unearth the truth.

Jason Thanou, head of the Special Operations Section, fears the worse. This is another attempt by despicable Transhumanists, technology-integrated humans, to reestablish themselves as supermen who wish to rule the Earth. Jason thwarted their evil designs once before, and knows all-too-well just how dangerous they are, but this time they’ve teamed up with an older society of aliens whose desire is to be worshipped as gods.

Arriving on 20 December 1668, Jason and his team have five months to accomplish their mission: obtain evidence of the Transhumanist activity. But seventeenth-century Port Royal is a far cry from the future in which Jason and his team live. Ruthlessness and cruelty abound in this past world, and the buccaneers’ excesses have led others to liken the town to Sodom and Gomorrah. One particular man holds sway over these men and women – Henry Morgan – so Jason’s goal is to join the famous buccaneer, who has put out a call for all pirates to join him in his greatest raid against Spain so far.

This assignment calls for experienced operatives, which is why Jason selects Pauline da Cunha and Alexandre Mondrago to accompany him. They know how to handle themselves and have plenty of experience dealing with unexpected and dangerous situations. The other members are selected by his boss and someone on the TRA council who wants his boss’ job. Irving Nesbit has memorized the rules and regulations and follows them to the letter. His job is to provide oversight, to make certain Jason observes proper “proprieties.” Dr. Henri Boyer is an expert on Afro-Caribbean religions, while Dr. Roderick Grenfell’s specialties are Caribbean history and the buccaneers.

The first five chapters, which lay the groundwork for the story, make for slow reading, but once Jason and his team arrive in Port Royal, the pace quickens and the action becomes almost non-stop. The inclusion of a period Caribbean map helps orient readers to places that Jason and his team visit. This piratical sci-fi tale provides ample swashbuckling adventure for the most ardent of pirates. The historical information woven into the storyline demonstrates the depth of White’s research, and provides a good introduction to those with no knowledge of the buccaneers. Morgan comes to life, allowing readers to get to know this legendary man and his famous raid on Maracaibo, and White provides an intriguing explanation of how and why HMS Oxford, Morgan’s flagship, blows up. While Pirates of the Timestream may not be for the faint of heart, this rousing and, at times, gut-wrenching tale credibly intertwines history with science fiction to entertain die-hard fans of the genre and pirates alike.
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Review Copyrighted ©2015 Cindy Vallar

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