February 5, 2015

Surviving Snowmageddon: ALL TIMELINES LEAD TO ROME

At last year's Windy City Pulp and Paper, I was fortunate enough to receive some complimentary books from author Dale Cozort, with the promise of reading and reviewing them. Needless to say, I hadn't had a chance to read any of them until this past Sunday's Snowmageddon 2015. Sitting down with All Timelines Lead to Rome - a book that was highly recommended by friends - I spent a few hours (after shovelling snow) reading the book from cover to cover.

I'm glad I did, because All Timelines Lead to Rome is a really good read.

I'm a sucker for a good parallel world story, but All Timelines Lead to Rome doesn't focus on that parallel world exclusively. Like Doctor Who: Inferno, Cozort's book uses a parallel world as a storytelling engine rather than a primary setting. Splitting between our present world and "Timeline X", Cozort's story focuses on a central mystery: a corpse is found with a photo of a scroll from a parallel timeline. With concerns about polluting a parallel timeline, Darla Smith - an agent for the Bureau of Temporal Integrity - leads an investigation that results in uncovering a rather fiendish - and possibly deadly - conspiracy....

One of the great things about All Timelines Lead to Rome is that it's a strong thriller with slight science fiction overtones. There's never a false beat or obvious storytelling trick, and there's a wonderful sense of pacing. (It also helps that Cozort actually makes the western suburbs of Chicago seem exciting - trust me, I've been out there). Even the nature of Timeline X is unique - a world where Rome maintained its empire, and America remained a hidden land, its indigenous people remaining untouched by "civilization".

All Timelines Lead to Rome also demonstrates a great deal of depth and diversity, both in its research and in how it describes its characters. When the final revelations come (and no, I'm not going to spoil), there is a very palpable sense of shock. Even though various characters may seem familiar, there's never a sense that the plot follows familiar cliches. Cozort does a great job in writing a story that's half thriller, and half exploration around how cultures are influenced by various factors.
If you're looking for a really good, casual read - consider All Timelines Lead to Rome by Dale Cozort. My only regret is that I didn't read this sooner....but now, I've followed through on at least one obligation from last year.

And now, onto those Sanctum Press Doc Savage and Avenger reprints I purchased....

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