Monday, 21 January 2013
The River of No Return
Just before he is about to die on the battlefield in the 19th Century, Lord Nicholas Falcott jumps forward in time. He awakens in 2003 and finds that he has been recruited by a mysterious organisation known as the Guild. They teach him how to adapt to life in the 21st Century and then leave him to his own devices for 10 years. Then in 2013, he receives a letter summoning him to return to their London headquarters. On arrival Nick learns that although he had been previously told that he could never return to his family; he is now being sent back to the 1800's on a mission to investigate a mysterious group working against the Guild, known as the Ofan.
Meanwhile, in 1815, Julia Perry is trying to cope with the death of her Grandfather. He too, had powers that could bend time to his will. Now that he has passed, her loathsome Cousin (who inherited her Grandfathers estate) is determined to find something called the Talisman in order to garner these powers for himself.
With The River of No Return, Bee Ridgway has created something special. She has perfectly balanced all the elements of her story: history, timey wimey shenanigans and love. There is a warmth that radiates from the pages, and a self awareness for when events get a bit ridiculous or twee.
Both of the lead characters were interesting, both completely flawed, and not the simpering duo that would normally inhabit this type of book. I liked that the focus of the story wasn't on the romantic relationship between Julia and Nick; their falling in love was more of a side note. As people, they were defined by much more. For example: Nick's struggles between his past self and the role of which he filled, compared to the person he had become in future, was conveyed superbly.
Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return is a marvelous debut. There is a lot of information to put across in order to explain her story, but Ridgway is more than adept, and has created a fantastic world of which I would be more than happy to visit again.