It's 2150 and Jacob Brown, a special forces officer in London, is gearing up for the Halcyon Project. The project will send him and his friend and coworker, Mason Smith, to Massachusetts in the year 2000.
Jacob and Mason are to convince the scientific community at MIT to participate in an experiment to build a modern fusion reactor that would eventually allow the scientists of the past to establish their own time travel facility. Scientists in 2150 would then be able to test the capabilities of time travel. Jacob still isn't completely sure about the mission. He realizes the reasons for going back in time seem frivolous but he wants to believe in his superiors.
It becomes apparent early on in the mission that something went horribly wrong. Instead of being transported to Massachusetts in the year 2000, Jacob and Mason end up in another place and time entirely. When they are attacked by an almost prehistoric looking beast, their saving grace comes in the form of Hector, a native who seems to be their only hope of getting out of this strange world alive.
Hector, being helpful, takes them back to his village and the Forest Tribe. It's when they speak to the tribe's elders that Jacob and Mason realize that they aren't welcome, and worse, they appear to resemble a group of rulers that control the power supply in the new, strange, world.
Jacob and Mason must figure out what happened and make it right or the very stability of the future could be at stake.
Sometimes novels involving time travel can be risky. For every plotline that's done well there are probably three that aren't.
In Time Jump, J.M. Preiss does a good job of presenting the concept of time travel in a way that manages to keep the story on a track and still makes sense. As a fan of Doctor Who, I could appreciate the storyline-- particularly the strange creatures, suspicious natives and power hungry overlords.
The story is paced well and there was never a point where I was ever confused or lost. It's easy to get drawn into the storyline and Preiss excels at world building and creating a very futuristic society, or how one would imagine the future would look in 2150. Marriages are arranged, prosthesis look identical to the limbs they are meant to replace, the military exists as peacekeepers, and the advancements in renewable energy have made energy free. Preiss even touches on the drawbacks of technology like the nano-replicators and their implications on the economy.
The characters are memorable in their own way. Hector's cluelessness about the situation is both endearing and funny. Mason and Jacob have a good amount of witty banter that make them both fun and interesting characters that you instantly feel connected to and want to see them return home. Even though Jacob seems to have more of a leader mentality, Mason and Hector are not secondary characters in the slightest and have important roles in the story.
Time Jump ends on a massive cliffhanger and I am anxious to see what will happen to our heroes in the next book.
There was one thing that prevented me from giving this novel more than four stars. Unfortunately the verb tense and the point of view changes a lot in the beginning of the novel; however, it doesn't detract from the overall plot of the story too much though.
Nevertheless, fans of time travel or Doctor Who will thoroughly enjoy this novel.
Look for Eugenic Reprisal, the second book in the Halcyon Gate series, soon!