- Thomas Mullen
Publisher: Mulholland Books
E-Arc with thanks to netgalley and Mulholland BooksZed is an agent from the future. A place where all of the world's problems have been solved. No hunger. No war. No despair. His mission is to keep that way. Even if it means ensuring every cataclysm throughout history runs its course, especially one just on the horizon. Zed's mission will ensnare the lives of a disgraced former spy named Leo; a young lawyer, Tasha, grieving over the loss of her brother; Sari, the oppressed employee of a foreign diplomat; and countless others. But will he finish his final mission before the present takes precedence over a perfect future? One that may have more cracks than he realizes?
Zed is from the future, from a perfect society and has come back to our time in order to prevent time travelling terrorists from disrupting the past and stopping his society from coming into being. In the past he runs across a disillusioned lawyer struggling with her brother’s death in Iraq, a former spy now working for private business and a down trodden servant in a Korean diplomat’s household. These four characters lives swirl around each other, creating eddies and ripples which impact each other, even if they don’t always know it.
The setting for this political time-travelling espionage thriller is Washington DC – a town which deals in ideologies like currencies – and this is reflected throughout. Each character questions their beliefs at some point and no-one view point is ever decided as right – in fact each character’s sanity is questioned and there is no right or wrong - just a myriad of grey.
This wasn’t always an easy read, but it was fascinating. At first I struggled with the writing, expecting a more adventure driven story, but soon I was drawn into these people’s lives and their dilemmas. I can’t say I ever fully relaxed though and I was always aware I was reading rather than pulled along by the story. However, the story made me think and I was never tempted to give up. The ending was ambiguous and makes you question what has actually been happening. This is an interesting if never entirely comfortable view of the world today and if we are making it a better place for tomorrow,
Recommended for fans of Ken MacLeod and Robert Harris. 7 out of 10