The wonderfully gripping novel, Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen, opens with one of the worst moments in Kin Stewart’s life. Kin is on a routine mission to stop a time-traveling mercenary from meddling with history when he is shot right in the beacon that allows him to return to his own time. Instead of going back to 2142, Kin is stuck in 1996.
Eighteen years later, after Kin has built a new life for himself, an agent from the Temporal Corruption Bureau comes to retrieve him. Kin has a wife and daughter he loves in 2014 and a decent job at an IT firm. Even with the lapses in his memory and bad headaches, Kin is content with his life. When a retrieval agent, who turns out to be his previously best friend Markus, comes for him, it is not the rescue he had hoped for back in 1996. He fights hard to stay in 2014, but eventually goes back to 2142 after extracting a promise that his family will be done right by.
Complicated? Not hardly. Kin and his faulty memory are thrust back into his life in 2142. Only two weeks passed in the future while he experienced 18 years. Still, Kim might have been able to re-acclimate to his actual time if he hadn’t figured out a way to send emails to his fourteen-year-old daughter back in 2014…which leads to his daughter unwittingly becoming a temporal threat to the TCB. It isn’t long before Kin has to figure out a way to go back and save his child.
Here and Now and Then is beautifully written, full of complex plotting and terrific character building. Readers who enjoy time travel stories will love this book. My summary above doesn’t do justice to Chen’s skill at creating a knotty time travel paradox while keeping it all as plausible as possible. Kin and his previous/future fiancée, Penny, are great characters, who are so well drawn that they give emotional depth to this wild ride of a novel. Here and Now and Then is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It’s certainly one of the best time travel novels I’ve ever read.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweis.