The Ministry of Time

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Pub Date 16 May 2024 | Archive Date 14 May 2024

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Description

'A thrilling debut . . . It's very smart; it's very silly; and the obvious fun never obscures completely the sheer, gorgeous, wild stretch of her ideas'
Guardian

'Fast moving and riotously entertaining, a genre-busting blend of wit and wonder'
OBSERVER, 10 best new novelists for 2024

'Terrific, moving . . . Crack this book open and you'll see how time can disappear'
FINANCIAL TIMES

'I loved its combination of extreme whimsy, high seriousness and cool understatement'
THE TIMES

'A high-energy story with thoughtful things to say about belonging'
INDEPENDENT

'Utterly winning . . . Readers, I envy you: There's a smart, witty novel in your future'
WASHINGTON POST

'Clever, witty and thought-provoking'
KATE MOSSE, author of The Ghost Ship

'Make room on your bookshelves for a new classic'
MAX PORTER, author of Shy

'As electric, charming, whimsical and strange as its ripped-from-history cast'
EMILY HENRY, author of Happy Place

'Thought-provoking and horribly clever - but it also made me laugh out loud'
ALICE WINN, author of In Memoriam

'A feast of a novel - singular, alarming and (above all) incredibly sexy'
JULIA ARMFIELD, author of Our Wives Under the Sea

'A weird, kind, clever, heartsick little time bomb of a book'
FRANCIS SPUFFORD, author of Golden Hill


A BOY MEETS A GIRL. THE PAST MEETS THE FUTURE. A FINGER MEETS A TRIGGER. THE BEGINNING MEETS THE END. ENGLAND IS FOREVER. ENGLAND MUST FALL.

In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering 'expats' from across history to test the limits of time-travel.

Her role is to work as a 'bridge': living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as '1847' - Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin's doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he's a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as 'washing machine', 'Spotify' and 'the collapse of the British Empire'. With an appetite for discovery and a seven-a-day cigarette habit, he soon adjusts; and during a long, sultry summer he and his bridge move from awkwardness to genuine friendship, to something more.

But as the true shape of the project that brought them together begins to emerge, Gore and the bridge are forced to confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can love triumph over the structures and histories that have shaped them? And how do you defy history when history is living in your house?

'A thrilling debut . . . It's very smart; it's very silly; and the obvious fun never obscures completely the sheer, gorgeous, wild stretch of her ideas'
Guardian

'Fast moving and riotously...


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ISBN 9781399726344
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)
PAGES 368

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Featured Reviews

I liked this book so much, I even read the Afterword and the Acknowledgements. I also devoured it in two days, which is the kind of thing I might do during the long summer holiday, but not over a weekend.
Due to be published on 7 May 2024, this first novel from Kaliane Bradley seems to have been inspired by the television adaptation of Dan Simmons’ The Terror, which I reviewed a while back. My biggest complaint about that TV series (and many other, similar, narratives) concerned the lack of women. Well, here Kariane Bradley offers a riposte: what if you took one of those hardy, desperate, frost-damaged men, and hoiked him off in a time machine to the ~21st century? And gave him a woman as a handler?
That Afterword gives a hint of this genesis: conversations with friends about all those lost men, the what ifs and so on.
Somehow, humanity has discovered time travel. As in most time travel narratives, we wave our hands as to the mechanism. Experimenting with what happens if they pull people out of time, they grab five people who were certain to die anyway and give them a year to adjust—or not. So we’ve got a couple of people from the sixteenth century, a traumatised soldier from the Somme, a woman from the 18th century, and Lieutenant Graham Gore from Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition.
What happens, how the time travelers adjust, or not, what the Ministry is up to, forms the basis of this narrative. The tone is elegiac: the narrator hints from the beginning that events take a turn, directly addressing the text receiver and expressing the idea that narrative itself is a form of time travel. She’s talking about Genette’s narrative hypostasis: there’s the subsequent narrator, positioned in space and time after the events she is recounting; and there’s the narrator-as-a-character in the story, an isotope who is moving through time, approaching but never quite becoming the person telling the story.
It’s not all doom and gloom of course. There’s light comedy in the culture shock aspects as well as poignancy. There’s a little bit of romance, some mystery: all the things.
Most of all this is entertaining and deftly written, an excellent debut novel.
This is a review of an ARC from Hodder and NetGalley.

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I absolutely loved this book. What a fantastic simple concept: time travel has been discovered, but what happens when someone is moved in time? Is it healthy, might it kill them? A few select people - about to die anyway - are fetched from history and assigned “bridges” to be their human companions and teach them about their new, contemporary lives. That in itself is a lovely idea. But the writing lifts it far beyond a simple good idea. Themes of isolation, immigration, trauma (inherited and first hand) and love weave through the book. I could not put it down. Superb.

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I was so excited to read "A Ministry of Time" by Kaliane Bradley and I cetrtainly was not let down! I am a massive Whovian and huge fan of Tom Holt and Douglas Adams so this synopsis was right up my street! Time Travel, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Romance. Seriously! I need a sit down!

Our protagonist is a civil servant and offered the promotoin of a lifetime, but there is a catch... the travel involved is not to distant lands, but to other era's. Acclimatising expats from different eras is not the easiest task, especially when contemporary sensibilities can make a grown man blush! However, Commander Gore adapts and adjusts with bloody minded determintation and a slow burn romance ensues. However, the course does not run smooth and there are certain "considerations" to take into account

The supporting cast is reminiscent of the Chaos in the last section of Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure, when they gather icons from history for their book report, but take the excellence of Bill and Teds and multiply in tenfold and you will still not be close to the awesome that this book personifies

So much fun and exquisitely written! I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading more from this author

Thank you to Netgalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Kaliane Bradley for this exceptional arc! My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It sucked me in right from the start. I liked the characters. It wasn't action packed but did not drag at all. I did not see the ending coming at all. Not sure you could call it a twist but it was definitely not where I thought it was going.

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The Ministry of Time starts as one thing and becomes another, appropriately enough for a sci-fi/political thriller/romance/comedy novel!
I absolutely loved this rollercoaster of a tale, which careens around mind-blowing bends until you have to go make a cup of tea just to process the excitement.
Not since Heathcliff has a sexy, brooding, Gothic hero captivated me so much- I quite preferred him to everyone else although they are a compelling cast. I’m looking forward to seeing what this author does next.

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Anyone who has kept an eye on my reading choices over the last few years,will know that I do love a good time travel novel, so I grabbed this one when I saw it on Netgalley UK
In this novel, the government has discovered a way of travelling through time and has chosen to visit a number of times in the past and rescue individuals from what look like certain death. These time travellers include a woman who should’ve died of plague, and a member of a doomed polar expedition who would have died of starvation, stranded in the ice when his ship could not escape.
We primarily follow the story of the sailor, and the woman who is assigned to be his handler or “bridge “ The story starts soon after the prime travellers have moved to our current time and follows these people as , stranded in a different time zone, they try make sense of modern life.
The author clearly has a interest in the way, spoken language changes over time, and in different situations, I particularly enjoyed the discussions of language and the difference in different time periods. I also thought the language that the narrator uses when she had a bad cold was quite amusing .
The story moves quite fast once the initial set up is over and there’s been quite exciting sections towards the end. The narrator and her time traveller are avoiding people who mean to do them harm .
The book is primarily and. action or story based novel there is some character, description and development. I personally would’ve liked more.
There is a sweet love story between two of the characters and a beautifully written sex experience, which I enjoyed
The novel is witty, intelligent and energetic, lots of things to think about is you read.
The majority of the novel is set in London and there’s a distinctly British feel about it.
As the novel progresses, we learn more about the polar Explorer and his past history. There are sections in different type face which takes the form of a story about his doomed polar expedition. In the acknowledgements at the end of the novel, you discovered that this person is a real character From history. Personally I found the sections a little bit divorced from the rest of the novel and they’re interesting well written. I felt that Story could probably done without as much information and historical detail. The interest to me in reading this book was the difference. The people were finding between now, and then in normal life experiences

I read early copy of the novel on NetGalley UK. The book is published in the UK on the 14th of May 2024 by Hodder and Stoughton, Sceptre.
This review will appear on NetGalley, UK, Goodreads and my book, blog, bionic, SarahS books.wordpress.com
After publication, the review will also appear on Amazon, UK

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This is a lovely read. The time travel part, particularly towards the end, is rather incomprehensible, but it’s still five stars for me - the writing is gorgeous and the characters really enjoyable. I love time travelling books, but in some ways this is almost more of a historical novel about the polar expedition than time travel as a narrowly understood scifi genre. If that’s what you’re after, I can see that you may be disappointed. However, if you want something engaging, well written and with great characters, it’s definitely a five star read.

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An incredible book. I’m stuck on it, having finished it and immediately wanting to re-read it. An interesting premise that is approached from a fun angle and filled out by loveable characters. Dialogue and narrative are excellent, and it was truly a joy to read. There are layers to it and I want to dig right in and live among them. I cannot recommend this book enough, it’ll be going right to my top favourites.

Many many thanks for NetGalley for early access in return for an honest review. This was a diamond read.

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I think I've never felt so connected to a character whose name I don't know, this novel is warm, smart and totally enjoyable, loved it!

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I revived a copy of this book to review from Netgalley.
This book is unique and brilliant. I have never read anything like it before and the writing is superb.
I look forward to seeing what the author writes next. This is sure to be a bestseller of 2024 and beyond!

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I should have read the reviews in advance- especially the warning that you might not sleep! Subsequently I stayed up most of the night reading this. I loved it. It was a time-travelling, historical, love-story with Men in Black undertones. It was funny and very compelling. I literally couldn’t stop reading it. I was really thrilled to get an advance copy.

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A real page turner.
Into a rather horrifying vision of the future of the world, and the UK in particular, several expats — refugees from previous centuries — arrive. All have been brought through a time portal, having apparently died in their era.
Each expat is given a 'bridge', someone from the 'Ministry' who is there to guide them through this unfamiliar century they have arrived in.
Among the horrors of the new era, relationships develop and there are charming descriptions of the 17th century, 19th century and early 20th century expats' encounters with the vagaries of modern life.
Some really funny moments amid a charming story that also relays an important message about what we are doing to the planet.
Thoroughly enjoyable.

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An intriguing and gripping story, I loved the characters and can't wait to read more by this author.

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A devastatingly lovely and brilliant high-concept page turner, The Ministry of Time sees a real-life sailor pitched headfirst into the modern day thanks to a time-travelling branch of the government. Anchored by a young civil servant, the two form a romance and a found family, and then deal with the ramifications of this. Beautiful and heartfelt, heartbreaking and hopeful all at once, The Ministry of Time is a wholly unique, star-bright novel that asks if love can transcend time and space.

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Astonishingly good! Rarely have I read anything so darn funny yet so powerful, emotionally charged and haunting.

It is sometime in the near future and ‘the Ministry’ have found a way to harness time and started a project to bring ‘expats’ from various historical eras into the present day. A lowly civil servant gets a role as a ‘bridge’ which involves looking after one of the expats and ensuring that they adjust to modern life. Her assigned expat is Commander Graham Gore, who died on Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition. The relationship between Gore and his bridge gradually, awkwardly develops while simultaneously it is becoming apparent that the Ministry’s project isn’t all that it seems.

I laughed and I cried and I fell in love with Gore (I challenge anyone not to!). I cannot recommend this book more!

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This book has a bit of everything. Time travel, Arctic exploration, romance, government leaks and climate change.
Novels and films about time travel usually bore me as they get so complex with so many possibilities and never knowing when dead is dead. However I thought that it was well handled and believable here although it did get a bit more complex towards the end but that was nicely countered with a big surprise. Much is written about the problems they have adapting to life in a different century as well as the guilt at having left others behind to their fates.
Only five characters were rescued from the past so it was quite easy to remember them all and get a good feel of their personalities. They are all monitored by an assigned Bridge and our narrator has been allocated the attractive Graham Gore and these two are the focus of the book. Commander Gore had been on the ill fated Franklin expedition trying to find the North West Passage and although I have seen a TV series about this I never got tired of reading more detail about it.
It was beautifully written and there was enough of a thriller element to the story to keep me wanting to avidly read on.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC

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The Ministry Of Time by Kailane Bradley:

This book had been tipped for success for some time, it’s was in all the ‘best books of 2024’ lists, the international rights have been sold and the TV adaptation is already in progress. I’m here to tell you that the hype is/was/will be real.

In a near future/becoming dystopian Britain, time travel is discovered. People are saved from a variety of fates and named ‘expats’. They are assigned a ‘bridge’, someone to acclimatise those saved to 21st century life and the novel contains the relationship between a British-Cambodian civil servant and Graham Gore, a 19th Arctic explorer.

Ok, that’s a vague and allusive stub of the narrative, but I’m not the kind of blogger who’ll let slip the book’s delicious secrets. One twist can be guessed immediately, but that’s the main strand of the narrative. The others, you won’t see coming a mile off. It’s a book that is part science-fiction, part thriller, part-deadpan comedy. Its roots are in flash fiction (Gore did actually exist), but that’s not to dismiss the effortless comic skill of someone adapting to a pre-apocalyptic future. I loved the other characters too, especially Margaret the proto-lesbian saved from the plague, let loose in hipster London.

The marketing material compares it to Time Traveller’s Wife or Cloud Atlas and they’re two of my favourite books. I think that does the author a great disservice, as The Ministry Of Time is quite unlike anything you’ll read this year or any year. It’s published by Hodder And Stoughton on May 14th and I thank them for a preview copy.

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I really don't know what to say. I normally read thrillers but something about this book really intrigued me.

I loved it. I LOVED IT.

I laughed, I cried, I cried some more. I will be recommending this to absolutely everyone.

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Very pleased to be able to read the hottest-tipped book of 2024! A clever, seductive, genre-busting, sci-fli (cli-fi?) romance with history, toxicity, racism and humanity at its core. But no matter what terms are thrown at it, it remains a pacy story with lots of heart (or maybe not?). The true nature of Gore keeps the reader guessing until the end (and if you can refrain from shouting at the main character then well done you!). I can't wait to see what other novels Kaliane writes. Reminded me a bit of The Psychology of Time Travel meets 1984 - both Orwell and Newman!

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Contemporary Science Fiction with a wonderful writing style. Contains the necessary problems and paradoxes associated with time travel, written about by some of the great sci-fi writers of the past. This chronicle also presents and develops some unique characters in which the reader must surely become invested.

Less speed than many time travel thrillers but nonetheless compelling reading.

Finally, if you are a fan of the descriptive narrative, full of similes and metaphors, then dive right in. You will be in heaven!

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The Ministry of Time blends time travel, romance, mystery, and comedy seamlessly together. The story revolves around a government ministry gathering "expats" from across history to establish the possibility of time travel. The main unnamed character is a civil servant who works as a bridge to guide her assigned expat, Commander Graham Gore, through the unfamiliar century they have arrived in. It soon becomes clear that the Ministry’s project isn’t all that it seems to be….

This is a really great book that will appeal to all readers, not just those interested in time travel reads. I anticipate that this will be one of the biggies of 2024.

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This is an astonishing debut. Time travel, romance, comedy and thriller, all beautifully constructed and written with literary flair.
In the near future, the unnamed protagonist works as a civil servant for The Ministry of Time in London as a 'bridge' between her world and her charge, a naval officer from the 19th century who history says disappeared in the frozen north, with the rest of the ill-fated crew. The plot follows the twists and turns of their relationship with each other, with authority, their pasts, presents and future and the wider world.
This was a compelling, easy read with much humour and pathos. Can see it making a great film or television series.
Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for an advance review copy of this novel.

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Aiming to progress her career in the civil service, the nameless heroine and narrator takes a job with the Ministry of Time, a department which has found a way to travel back in time and bring people from the past into the present to supposedly study how the changes affect them and see what lessons can be learned. She is employed as a bridge, living with her charge and helping him to understand and come to terms with a contemporary lifestyle and to assimilate into modern society. He is Graham Gore, known as 1847, a naval commander who died on the doomed Arctic expedition led by Sir John Franklin, brought through time along with four others from various eras. As her relationship with them all develops and things become more complicated, it becomes increasingly obvious that something much darker is going on. This is a fabulous read, thought-provoking, poignant and often hilarious. I really enjoy time-travel fiction but often find it hard to get my head round the mechanics of it all, but what is most interesting and original here is that the focus for most of the book is on what it is like to come from another era and to have to learn how to live in a completely different world. Despite these differences, the “expats” come across as real people with whom you can still identify. So many themes are covered- what history means, sexuality, racism, feminism, belonging, grief, friendship and so on. It can be read not just as time-travel, but as an unusual love story, a conspiracy thriller, a satire on institutional management or even as dystopia. Beautifully written and hugely entertaining, it really is something special.

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This is such a fabulous story. Set in a fantasy London where a time door has been opened and various people from history have been brought into the modern day, in an experiment to see if they can survive the time travel and thrive in their version of the future.

The central character in the book is a bridge in the Ministry of Time - her job is to look after one of the subjects, Graham Gore, a lieutenant from the doomed ship Erebus, back in the 19th century, as it attempted to explore the Northern passage. She introduces him to the modern world - cooking, motorbikes and modern history, as well as romance.

This book is more than a love story though, it's a thriller, a spy story and so much more! I really enjoyed it, as it was very different to anything I would usually read.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC, in exchange for my honest review.

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The MInistry of Time by Kaliane Bradley is a unique book that contains a plethora of themes–time travel, sci-fi, romance, and thriller. The author’s writing style is quite modern but still unique, and it allows us the privilege of a glimpse into almost every thought of the main character.
The plot follows the re-integration of “expats” or people plucked from the past into modern society. As a reader, you can tell that quite a bit of historical research was put into writing this book. There’s also the psychological aspect that causes you to think about how much weight events of the past can have on the future, and how some actions cannot be changed no matter how hard we try.
In terms of description, this book waxed quite metaphorical and was in itself a giant metaphor.
Overall, its unique plot and writing style made for an intriguing story. I would highly recommend this!

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The Ministry of Time - Kaliana Bradley

Take a disparate group of people from the past with nothing in common and whisk them forward to the future. Throw in their minders (called bridges) who have to look after them and report on them for a year to see if they could live independently and you have the makings of a great story.

The Ministry of Time controls everything or so it thinks but the quirky characters especially Commander Graham Gore (1845 Victorian Arctic Explorer), Maggie (1665 plague survivor), and Captain Reginald Smyth (1916 World War 1) manage to get under your skin with their antics.

As the characters develop the mystery of why they were extracted from their time develops. A mysterious Brigadier and his sidekick appear who are definitely not who they seem and love is in the air for Commander Gore.

However this is not just a love story and there are twists and turns in a book that uses our colonial history, Cambodian genocide and global warming to paint a vivid picture of life in the near future intermingled with the past. There is a lot of humour however and Maggie especially with her dating apps, night clubbing and 17th century speech is a hoot.

This is a well written genuinely moving book with a very sexy love story that has plenty of twists and turns right up to the end.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced copy.

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A really interesting concept and a clever plot which was incredibly well written.

Definitely an author I will continue to look out for

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Absolutely loved Kaliane Bradley’s novel. An intelligent, sexy time travel novel with a clear eye for geopolitics, climate change and colonialism. This book is a brilliant thriller with a love story at its heart.

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Phenomenal! I loved the combination of genres, which created such a spellbinding book. This is a book that I had been waiting for for so long, without realising. I had always wanted a book that contained time travel and romance and this book definitely delivered.

I sometimes wished that there was more clarity between the protagonist and Gore. However, in the context of the book and the characters, it makes sense why they react in the way that they do. I also felt like the ending could have been explained more but it still made its point. I loved how it paid attention to the impact time travel has on the body, which is normally glossed over in sci-fi.

I definitely will be recommending this title in store and handselling it. I may also buy this as a gift for friends and family.

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I very much enjoyed the array of characters and their situation - there are hints of the BBC comedy ‘Ghosts’ as the cast is made up of people from different times. The time travellers bafflement or total enthusiasm for present day living made for good reading.
5e plot got a little shaky at the end but on the whole this a riot of a read.

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A struggle at first, but then I really enjoyed reading this book. Thank you to the writer, publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read it

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The Ministry of Time is an enormously satisfying book - I was left with the feeling that I had read an important novel destined to be a future classic.

A heady mix of adventure, science-fiction, romance, social commentary and humour that in less talented hands could have been a mess. But here Kaliane Bradley, in her debut no less, masterly balances these genres with a shining intellect, a rich vocabulary, and a great sense of pace.

A gripping yarn with much for the reader to reflect on. Thrilled it is to be a BBC drama.

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Funny, enjoyable and quite weird !

Great, confident writing from an author who is working well above the level of new comer - can’t wait to see what comes next .

Definitely one to watch. Thank you for the original to read

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utterly and unexpectedly wondrous! as always, i fall in love with books due to character and plot narrative and this is exceptional in both arenas. but the writing is just beautiful, and the relationships so seductive… it reminds me in tone of Never Let Me Go, but with flashes of very contemporary humour and just a little sci do

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A well-written novel where many, many sentences have a sting in the tail. Where the narrator foreshadows what is to come (or should that be was has already happened…).

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I really enjoyed this book. I do love a bit of time travel/ history, so this was exactly my kind of book. It was very original and I have never read a book with the same ideas. What would figures from the past think of our modern life and could they be assimilated into the current day successfully. There was a good helping of looking out for and avoiding the baddies. and I loved the ending. I look forward to reading more from this author.

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"You know, when you are out of my sight, I fear I've imagined you."

In The Ministry of Time we follow an unnamed British-Cambodian woman who is assigned to work as a "bridge" - helping people who have been extracted from their timelines because they were supposed to die, adjust to life in the 21st century.

There are 5 expats and they are all real historical figures. Our bridge's assigned expat is Commander Graham Gore, a member of the Franklin's lost Arctic expedition who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. The story takes a turn once we discover not everything is as it seems, and the time travel mission has some hidden goals, as well as spies from the future.

Graham is such a charming character! You can't help but fall for him at the same time as the main character does, and you really can't blame her or yourself for it. He is indubitably confused by the situation he has found himself in, but he grabs life by its horns and makes the most of it. He explores the wonders of the 21st century & modern technology while still remembering his fellow expeditioners and feeling guilty for their disappearance and eventual death.
He is hilarious, gentle, loving and kind and the relationships he forms with the other expats (particularly Maggie and Arthur) show how much he cares for those around him.

Once the relationship between Graham and his bridge becomes romantic, we see how much he has longed for her during the year they were working and living together. He is an incredibly well written character, and I could imagine him as a real person during the entire time that I was reading the book, which doesn't happen often.

I loved the side characters, particularly Maggie who was at times even funnier than Graham himself, especially once she discovers social media and Tinder. Arthur is a shy but loving soul and I wish he had a better ending. I could honestly read separate books just about them.

I haven't been this invested in a book since I read Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow in 2022, and I forgot what a beautiful feeling it is to get so lost in a book. I'm so happy I had the chance to read this before release and add it to my favorites list.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me an e-galley in exchange for an honest review !

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Time travel and government drama are the backdrop here to some truly marvellous characters. Imagine what you would get if you put a near-future British-Cambodian woman and a man who was raised at the height of empire together in a house. It makes for many scenes of hilarity and important conversations about the changes that have taken place. The dynamic between the MC and Graham is just delightful.

“You’re a musician. How can you have no sense of time-keeping?”
“You are a larger instrument than a flute.”
“I bet you say that to all the girls.”


It is primarily an introspective novel and slow-burn romance, at least until the last 25% or so, but the scenes are driven by dialogue so the pacing doesn't lag. Bradley explores themes of colonialism, slavery, language, being mixed-race, being white passing, exoticization of other cultures, and inherited trauma. The MC carries the inherited trauma of the Cambodian genocide with her and it sneaks into her everyday life and thoughts in unexpected ways.

I adored the secondary characters, too, especially Margaret.

It is rare to find a book that is equal parts entertaining AND contains so many important messages. I thought I wanted more from the ending but, having sat with my thoughts a while, I think it was a good example of an author finding that sweet spot of wanting more before it tips over into too much. And the last part of the book is written so beautifully I wanted to quote it, but I won't do that to you.

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Kaliane Bradley's novel, The Ministry of Time, is garnering much advance praise. It is easy to see why - at its heart it is a human story with a sci-fi twist. That twist is pure simplicity and provides a number of intriguing what-if questions. It is the near future and time travel has been invented. The gatekeepers of this technology use it to save the lives of people who history considered dead before their time. Men such as Graham Gore, one of the men who sailed north to find the fabled Northwest Passage never to return home. In this novel, he is bought to the future. How will he settle in? What could go wrong?

This fast-paced novel is a lot of fun. It's probably not sci-fi enough for fans of that genre, but for those readers who love a human story told in unusual settings, this is perfect.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC.

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The Ministry of Time is an incredibly assured and accomplished debut that will surely be one of the books of the year. Kaliane Bradley has crafted a fantastic story that mixes time-travel, intrigue, and romance with impossibly high stakes.

For me, the stand-out elements of this book were the characters, in particular the 'Expats'- those who have been plucked out of their original time period and deposited in the twenty first century. Reading about a nineteenth century naval officer encountering such broad subjects as feminism, the internet, and modern day London was about as fun as you'd expect, but Bradley also manages to make it endearing and genuinely moving. I found the cast of characters so engaging, charming, and fully realized that I was bereft when I finished the book and had to leave them behind.

Believe the hype, this is a book you'll be forcing your friends to read for the foreseeable future.

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It's been 2 weeks since I finished reading The Ministry of Time, and I can't stop thinking about it! It's my favourite book I've read so far this year, and it'll take a lot to knock it off the top spot come the end of the year! Inventive, compelling and profound - I genuinely could not put it down, I felt so invested in the characters and what was going to happen to them. This is such a well-crafted exploration of time travel and it's consequences, Bradley wastes no time in exploring the how it happened and instead devotes the time as to what it could mean - and it feels so terrifyingly plausible. A modern classic.

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I loved this book. I'm not usually drawn to 'time travel' or fantasy themes but I liked that it was set in modern-day London. The idea behind this book is fascinating; individuals are brought through a time door from the past into the future. The great thing is the humour running throughout the book as the main protagonist comes to terms with her nineteenth century sailor. Unusually, the man coming from the past was actually a real sailor, Graham Gore who did during the search for the N W Passage.
Pacing is perfect and characterisation is absolutely spot on with some of the verbal quirks especially funny. I read it pretty quickly because it is a page turner and has a fantastic twist near the end.
Loved it and would highly recommend it to even non fantasy types like myself.

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A thoroughly entertaining and unique story with so much intrigue.
As with many books and films that feature time travel there's a lot that goes unexplained so you're always caught wondering the whys and how's until the author reveals more to you, because they all use slightly different theories and bend them to fit their narrative. This kept so much interesting in this story, add in the spy elements too and I was constantly unsure who to trust, even our unnamed narrator main character. It was written so well, with such clever aspects to reveal the softer sides of the characters but also the complexities of human nature, no matter the era they were born.
Bringing together the different cultures, values, and even speech of the characters from different centuries provided so much entertainment, there really were some laugh out loud moments along with the serious peril the characters found themselves in once a traitor in their midst is revealed.
Pacy, steamy and heartbreaking it is deserving of the positive buzz surrounding this book and I think everyone should read it to judge for themselves.

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A lovely romp through time as well as literary genres. Nuanced, charming, smart, funny, and emotional--this book is the full package. The kind of novel that makes you want to go right back to the beginning to start reading it all over again when you reach the last page.

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I don't usually read sci fi, although there are a few exceptions. However, I was intrigued by the description of this book, in which a select group of people are brought from the past to present-day Britain and must learn to inhabit the 21st century. I do love a good culture shock story. This excellent book is far more than that, though, and I am so glad I read it!

The book is told from the perspective of a civil servant, who had been toiling away in the Languages department, but applies for and is hired for a much more secretive and well-paying job in the Ministry, where time travel has been discovered. She will be the 'bridge' to Commander Graham Gore, who had been known as one of those who perished in the Franklin expedition to the Arctic. History says he died in 1847, but now he's learning about life in the 21st century. The bridge is there to monitor him and help him navigate this new world. Even she isn't clear about what the Ministry is about and what the purpose of the project is. This job also makes her think about her own life as an outsider--her mother was a refugee from Cambodia and she grew up with the casual racism that is sadly so common. Just as the 'expats' as they are called (in order to keep away the stigma of the word 'immigrant') must figure out what their place is in a new society, the bridge continues to figure out her place in her own. Her experience also complicates her relationship with Commander Gore at times, but in spite of the fact that this is supposed to be a job, she soon finds herself growing closer to her expat. At the same time, she finds herself uneasy about some of the things that are happening at the Ministry and isn't sure what to do about it. At one point she says, 'Life is a series of slamming doors. We make irrevocable decisions every day. A twelve-second delay, a slip of the tongue, and suddenly your life is on a new road.' (p 160)

As you'd expect, there is a lot in this book about belonging and feeling misplaced. For the bridge, this is a generational thing--there is a very moving short scene in which she remembers a trip to her mother's home place in Cambodia and how her mother's accent was ridiculed. She clearly didn't fit in there, but she never quite fit in in Britain, either. The bridge's sister writes about her experiences with racism, while the bridge tries to fit in and pass as white. In similar ways, the expats have different strategies for navigating their current world.

I don't want to give anything away, but I'll just say that the last 100 pages or so are a wild ride. I thought I knew where the book was going. I was wrong. This is a really fine book, beautifully written, and a real page-turner. I was annoyed every time I had to put it down and couldn't wait to get back to it. I've been thinking about it ever since I finished it and I think it will stay with me for a long time. Fantastic read!

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I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed Kaliane Bradley’s THE MINISTRY OF TIME. Time travel, spies, double agents, a love story, a doomed Arctic expedition, it really has got it all. More speculative fiction that’s FUN, please!

The narrator is a woman working as a civil servant in the translations department before she is promoted to a new team, in a new role. The British government have discovered time travel, and have liberated a small group of time-travellers from a certain death in their own time, and pulled them into the present. She’s to be a “bridge” for the next year to one of the expats in time, Commander Graham Gore, a naval explorer pulled out of the fateful HMS Erebus expedition. They’ll be housemates for the next year, and she is to find *teaching moments* to ease the transition and help him integrate into life in the 21st Century, whilst reporting back on his ability to acclimate. Less straightforward than it seems, she also has to keep him out of harm’s way in a time he doesn’t know how to belong in, yet.

As well as being very funny, there are also some really beautiful moments when the bridge and the expats find moments of connection across eras, not just to the present, but also to their own different times - in particular, in two of the other expats, lively Maggie, a cinephile who would’ve died from the bubonic plague, and gentle soul Arthur, a World War 1 soldier pulled from the front line, Bradley creates such a strong sense of true friendship that the turn of the novel (which I won’t spoil) genuinely hits like a ton of bricks. 


Loved loved loved.

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I was completely captivated by this scifi/romance/comedic/polar history/dystopian crime/time travel completely original mash up wrapped up in a brilliantly characterised and absorbing plot. What happens when the civil service gets their hands on a time machine and decides to test it by bringing into the near present day people from history who would otherwise have died just after they are transported. If something goes horribly wrong, well, they would have died anyway, right? So into the 21st century come a woman who would have been guillotined during the French revolution, a soldier from the Somme, a woman who would have died from the plague along with another man from the seventeenth century and a polar explorer. Assigned to each of these unwitting refugees from time is a civil servant, a bridge. Our unnamed narrator is tasked with living with Lieutenant Graham Gore, sweet natured, handsome, Victorian and rescued from death by starvation or cold, for a year to assimilate him into the twenty first century and, of course, spy on him. What she's not supposed to do is fall in love with him.

Weaved into this gorgeous time travel romance is a thoughtful musing on the privilege inherant in what makes one person a refugee and another an expat. Our unnamed heroine is a white-passing half Cambodian woman whose mother fled Pol pot's Khmer Rouge. Generational trauma, survivor's guilt, exile, exoticising and othering is so expertly woven through her thought process it enhances what is already a cerebral book. Also woven in is the author's own fascination with polar expeditions and historical crush on Lieutenant Gore, who will soon have a whole new army of fans thanks to this book.

Fascinating, beautifully written and unputtdownable, this is a wonderfully assured debut. Highly recommended.

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Clear the decks, free up some time and settle down to read the novel of the year! What a book! The writing is concise and the plot pulls you in straight away. In my mind, this is a mix-up of Slow Horses, Ghosts and Cloud Atlas - a reverse time-travel scenario where a select few people from the past are scooped up and brought into a London in the very near future by The Ministry of Time. The star of the show is Graham Gore — brought back from the fated Franklin expedition in Northern Canada in 1865 - a charming man who will charm his way into your heart and mind. This book has stayed with me since I finished it and it will be hard to find a better one.

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I never before understood what it would be like to fall in love with not only a man from the past but now a fictional relisation of one, and now my heart aches.

The Ministry of Time like all other ministries that are governed by the British Higher ups is riddled with bureaucracy, closed doors and an overwhelming heir of imperial superiority. A team of 'bridges' is set up to over sea the assimilation of a group of people plucket from time. We focus is on our nameless narrator who is assigned Grahame Gore of the ill fated Terror and Erubus expeditions.

Of course when you mess with time some is bound to get angry and thus we have the threat of spies from the future, conspirator bridges and maybe even the ministry itself set to sabotage the project.
In between all the paper shuffling we get to know our time travelers a little bette, as much as the narrator makes poor decisions she accepts her naivety which thankfully makes her more endearing than annoying.

I am never a fan of open endings I prefer closure, but my heart bleeds for a man who not only lived in another time period but likely froze to death. I want closure for him almost as much as I want it for myself.
Beautiful read.

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Thank you to the author and publisher for the chance to read this ARC, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed this, I’m a huge time travel fan and this just ticks all the boxes for me, great characters, plot, historical world building. It’s perfect for adventurers.

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I have read a lot of time travel books, but this approached it from a new perspective, which I found refreshing and interesting.
The story was well thought out, and with some great twists. The central character's twist was particularly good. No spoilers from me - you'll have to read it!
The book was obviously very well researched, which I always like, as well as well written and with some great characters. Who can fail to be moved by Arthur?

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An incredible novel spanning genres including sci fi, romance and espionage to name but a few. Wonderfully unique - I can say with certainty I have never read anything like this before. Definitely recommend.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

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This was a refreshingly original read set in the not too distant future, The government have 'discovered' how to travel through time. As a test of its safety they have brought five people from the past, who would have died, into the future. Our narrator, a civil servant, is employed to work as a Bridge for Gore, an arctic explorer. Her role is to help him to come to terms with the 'hereness' and 'thereness' of his past and present experiences. Not only is this a love story, it is also underpinned by some thought-provoking ideas linked to climate change and the ends to which governments will go to protect their resources.

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I absolutely loved this new novel by Kaliane Bradley. Full of uniques ideas and great characterisation I found it very funny in parts, yet poignant in others. Great writing style.

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What an incredible book. I expected this to be a quiet, calm read, but it was anything but. I loved every second and I can't wait to read more of Kaliane Bradley's work. The idea of picking a character out of a history footnote and building him into a character that is so full and complex is such an amazing skill to have, and it makes me want more of these sorts of books. I found myself immediately looking up more about Graham Gore and the Erebus, as my own knowledge about the expedition was tiny. Mixing in time travel was a fun element and I feel it was done beautifully.

I agree that parts of the book were slow, but I felt that Kaliane used this opportunity to build characters and relationships and I really enjoyed the lulls in the tension. It also made me anxious to seek out the next bit of foreshadowing and try to grasp what was going on. The writing may not be for everyone, but personally I loved the flowery metaphors and similes ("bobbing around one another like clots in a lava lamp"; "emotion in her face spiralled away, water down a plughole"). It was fun to see new descriptions and they gave a great visual effect.

The characters were lovely to meet and follow. While the romance wasn't what I expected, I found myself searching for each look and word and praying that things would go further. They were all beautifully fleshed out.

Overall, I loved this, and feel physically drained after finishing it (a sign of a great book for me). Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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It was a delight to read something so inventive and different, that was at the same time historical and precisely modern, witty and thought-provoking.

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A civil servant who has struggled and failed to pass the exams for field agent, is offered a mysterious new job at an improbably high salary It transpires that the Ministry has discovered the time door, through which individuals may be plucked from the past, and retrieved into modern life. Her job is as a 'bridge', to mentor an individual for their initiation. Her first ward is commander Gore, an English sailor who disappeared from Franklin's doomed expedition to find the North west Passage in the 1840s. As the Ministry is focussing on how the reclaimed people from the past may be turned into useful assets it becomes clear that someone is trying to take them out. Is there a mole in the Ministry.? Are there foreign agents? Its a classic fast moving spy thriller built on a sci-fi premise. Great fun.

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I adored this book, a blend of so many of my favourite things: historical fiction and thriller, romance and time travel. It has some of the best dialogue of any book I’ve ever read and I have joined the leagues of readers to fall for the charms of Commander Graham Gore.

It’s funny and clever, thrilling and sad. Bradley is smart with her treatment of colonialism and the juxtaposition of a British-Cambodian woman with an officer serving at the height of the British Empire. She doesn’t shy away from writing about the devastating effects climate change will have.

Around the halfway point I started wondering if I “enjoyed” this read rather than “loved” it, mainly down to the main character’s (whose name we never learn) wobble in the story she’s telling. But it all gets so exciting in the last 25% and then wraps up so beautifully that I had to give it 5 stars.

Above all: it’s a book to read for three of the characters and the vividness with which they appear on the page. Their observations on the near-future modern love are absolutely wonderful: Commander Graham Gore (removed from the Franklin Expedition in the arctic where he would have died), Arthur (removed from the World War I battle he would have died in) and Margaret (who would have died of the Plague in the 17th century).

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I loved this story that mixes romance, humour, time travel and made me think of a more chaotic and futuristic version of Jody Taylor's St Mary Chronicles.
Well plotted, entertaining, excellent world building and character development.
Loved it
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This pulled me out of a reading slump. I adored the voice - and the characters. (Need more Margaret please!)

It’s a lovely slow burn but I stayed because I was connecting individually with both main characters too - and the cast of characters around them.

It’s always difficult to keep plot threads together when it comes to time travel but I think this does a great job of balancing it all and the characters are always what pull me in - if rendered well enough - as they are here.

Humorous, poignant, wise and original. I can’t wait to get a finished copy.

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This is an early contender for 2024 "Book of the Year'. I loved it. An easy handsell and a totally satisfying read.

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Loved this book! So many twists and turns, such great character development. I was totally invested by chapter two and couldn’t put it down!

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I started reading this book… I went on a walk reading this book… I stayed up til midnight to finish this book. Utterly absorbing and fascinating, with such rich and wonderful characters.

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Really enjoyed this! A novel about the practical implications of time travel and the knotty ethical implications of how to integrate someone into a new time period without running roughshod over their intrinsic personality. There were plenty of twists and turns in the plot but this didn't obscure the very human nature of this experiment with time travel.

I felt the characters came alive with all their historical idiosyncrasies without feeling like caricatures - in particular I thought that the relationship between Lola and Commander Gore was well handled, especially with the tricky position of being a 'bridge'.

Would recommend this book - I can see myself reading it again in the near future!

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This book is clever in so many ways. But also accessible, quirky and very different. Add it to you list of books for the summer - it won't disappoint.
Set in the not too distant near future it is about a woman who wants to fit in and do a good job, a man from 200 years ago, and a government programme which turns sinister very quickly. The characters are the best part for me, especially the historic cast who are funny, likeable and overall very entertaining. A little bit Ghosts and a little bit Men in Black. What's not to love?
I definitely recommend this one and I am really glad I read it.
p.s - Did anyone else have lots of ideas/dilemmas about who would play Graham in a film version? What a treat that would be.

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In February of this year I read an excellent book, and confidently I said it would probably be the best book I read all year. Quite fittingly, for this book, I wish I could go back in time, and un-make that assertion. This is probably the best book I will read all year.

The Ministry of Time is a most spectacular thing. It is a novel that is as narratively compelling, and thematically rich, as it is mechanically well-written. This is a book that is about love, as much as it is a book about post-colonialism, about the individual in the machine, about genocide, politics, government, and sense of self. Kaliane Bradley interrogates race, person-hood, the idea of individuality, and the homogeneity identity when you're following orders. She also presents some of the most delicate, heart-breaking, intimate developments of relationships I have ever read. This is a love story, not a romance, and it is the kind of love we all aspire to have. This is also a book about obsession, and hurting people, and about breaking yourself open again and again.

I cannot see the future, and yet I feel confident predicting great things for this novel.

This is the easiest 5 stars I have given in a long time. I am thrilled to have had the privilege to read this book early. I have so many things I want to talk about, and yet I would not dare spoil this book for anyone. Everyone should read this book.

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I knew nothing about this book besides the fact that the cover was stunning and that the synopsis sounded too interesting to pass on. Had I not been approved for the advanced copy maybe I would have picked it up eventually but my GOD I’m so happy I got approved cause this was indeed very wild!

It was a proper rollercoaster that I ended up reading in less than a day and can honestly say I’ve never EVER encountered such a mix of comedy, thriller, and romance within the sci-fi genre.

The cultural discussions, subtle political undertones, the challenges people from different eras trying to adapt to modern society faced and the funny discussions this brought up—everything was engaging.
The unique romance subplot with the Victorian banter added another layer of enjoyment especially when the story took an unexpected turn into thriller territory.

I also loved the author’s explanation about how much of the story was fictional and how this book came to be in the Afterwords section. It was a thoughtful addition that showcased the depth of the author's investment in the story.

For me, this book deserves nothing less than a perfect score. Maybe it’ll be too much for some but it was an unforgettable experience that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the digital ARC!

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Original, witty, beautifully descriptive, I was completely captivated. A great book for a book club, contains history and science, just what would time travel reveal to another generation and what will be affected. Must admit to being a bit in love with a certain G. G. The twists were great, the story compulsive. A brilliant debut.

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