The Map of Time: A Novel by Félix J. Palma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I was so excited to get this book - the back flap suggests a Jasper Ffordian adventure starring H.G. Wells. However... not so much. This novel is in three parts, only lightly interwoven. One of those threads is H.G. Wells, another is Gilliam Murray and his Trip to the Year 2000. The author has written this as a pastiche of Victorian novels, filled with digressions, overly adjectived, and a tad rambling.
Part One is the story of Andrew, an upper-middle class boy who falls in love with a beautiful whore, Mary Kelly. Their relationship progresses to the point where Andrew announces his love for her to his father and promptly gets disinherited. Lost, he wanders back to her home/hovel, only to arrive minutes after Jack the Ripper has visited his fifth victim. Eight years later he's prepared to kill himself in that same room, until his cousin Charles, with the help of Mr. Murray and Mr. Wells, convinces him that by traveling through time he has saved Mary.
Part Two is set in Murray's Time Traveling fraud, with a young, bored woman taking the trip to the year 2000 only to fall in love with the Savior of the Human Race, Derek Shackleton. Derek - aka Tom - falls in love with her, too; back in the "present day" they spend one night and several passionate letters declaring their love (Tom's letters are written by Wells).
Part Three finds us contemplating three murders, committed with some weapon unknown to the era. Scotland Yard's detective has decided that the only possible suspect is Mr. Shackleton and convinces his superiors to allow him to travel to the year 2000 to arrest Shackleton. Murray, afraid his huge hoax will be discovered, convinces Wells to find the real killer... and thus commences a very complicated, confusing explanation of time travel, the Library of Truth and other things, as Wells tries to prevent The Invisible Man from being published by the supposed murderer (who will also kill Bram Stoker and Henry James, stealing Dracula and The Turn of the Screw). This is the least comprehensible part of the book, with what appears to be three time travelers, including one claiming to be Wells-of-the-future, running around.
Had the book focused on Part Three, with less rushing around and more mystery, I would have enjoyed it far more. However, the jacket flap also says that this is an International Sensation, so what do I know?
ARC provided by publisher.