Wednesday, August 22, 2012


How about a futuristic novel that takes place in the present?  Our narrator, Zed, has time-traveled from the future to present-day New York, where his mission is to make sure that the historical agitators ("hags") do not alter the course of history.  The hags have tried to prevent the Holocaust, the 9/11 tragedy, and now the Great Conflagration—presumably a nuclear event.  Zed's employers want to ensure that the peace and prosperity that follow the Great Conflagration remain intact.  Now Zed's gadget for identifying hags has gone on the fritz, and he meets a fellow employee with instructions that conflict with his own.  Zed belatedly starts to suspect that his employers are not the good guys.  Caught in this web of intrigue are Leo (a former CIA operative), Tasha (a corporate attorney who secretly leaks a corporate greed scandal), and Sari (an Indonesian woman in the employ of a Korean diplomat and his cruel wife).  The author weaves a pretty good plot here, but the characters are stilted, and the various tragedies each has endured somehow fail to arouse sympathy.  I found the final outcome puzzling, and I can't even blame the time-travel aspect for my confusion.  Leo's anonymous client is a shady company called Enhanced Awareness, who also employed Troy Jones, whose identity Zed is using in the present.  I never quite got what that company's evil mission was or what its relationship to Zed's employer was.  One reviewer assumed that Zed was from another planet.  What??  I didn't think that at all.  Apparently I'm not the only reader whose awareness could use a little enhancement.

No comments: