Title: The Outcasts of Time
Author: Ian Mortimer
Publish Date: January 2, 2018
# of Pages: 400
(**Warning: Possible spoilers!**)
(From Goodreads) December 1348. With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and go to Hell. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries – living each one of their remaining days ninety-nine years after the last.
John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them still further. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived.
As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the reader travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment and war. But their time is running out – can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up?
The Outcasts of Time is a time traveling book that follows the last six days of one man’s life.
When John makes the decision to help a baby with the plague in the mid-1300s, his life–and the life of his brother, William–are forever changed. When both brothers come down with the plague, they are given a choice by a holy entity: live out the rest of the days in their own time and die, or repent and save their souls by spending the the last six days of their life time traveling 99 years per day with the purpose of doing good deeds.
They choose time travel.
John soon discovers that the farther he gets away from his own time period, the harder it is to do good deeds, since the definition of right and wrong is forever changing. In the end, he’s enlightened with the fact that his decision to time travel and to not spread the plague further was the ultimate good deed.
I had a hard time getting into this book initially. It was slow, and despite the time travel, nothing really seemed to happen. John was supposed to be doing good deeds but seemed to be accomplishing very little each time he traveled 99 years into the future. About mid-way through the book, the pace started picking up. I started getting more involved with John as a character, and ultimately, I was very intrigued about how the book would end.
John as a character was kind of “meh.” Even though he was the main character and the book was 400 pages long, I never really got a sense of who he was as a person. Developing his character further would have helped significantly.
The book itself was very well-written and well-researched. The author knows his stuff and did a great job of weaving in historical facts and settings throughout the novel.
I wasn’t sure how the book was going to end, but I thought the ending was perfect. It really drives home the message that your decisions have consequences–both positive and negative.
If you’re interested in time travel books or historical fiction, check this book out!
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
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