Earth is dying.
Warfare and terrorism have ravaged the world and now a plague that will end all human life stalks the planet. It is only a matter of time before mankind becomes extinct.
But the United States has a plan - and a time machine. They will send back in time two people who will change the past and prevent this future.
And the target is 4,000 BC, just before the first Indo-Europeans are invaded by the horse-riding Kurgan, in the hopes that their more consensus-based culture will survive, and thus all of human history from that point will not be nearly so awful (and, incidentally, the conditions that lead to the release of the designer plague will never come about).
This is the first book of the "Lost Millennium" trilogy
. I was at a SF convention panel where Mike was on it and he made the series seem quite interesting (of course, this was the same panel where Steve Barnes made his Lion's Blood
book sound good, so...). I picked up said series in the hucksters room and preceded to start to read...
...to discover that in order to save the world, Mike's heroes were going to change - literally - all
Well, I like
time-travel/let's change history types of stories, and this one wasn't too
bad from a writing standpoint, but I take strong
disagreement with the concept that all the ills of mankind can be laid on one little invasion into Europe six-thousand years ago. What? There were no conquerors in Asia, Africa, the Americas? I just don't buy it.
And Moscoe never actually explains
how this proposed history change was decided upon. It wouldn't be my first (or twenty-seventh, for that matter) choice if I needed to "save the future" - if for no other reason than going that far back for a POD (real or fictional) makes your results essentially unpredictable.
And, oddly, in spite of the fact that the results are unpredictable, in spite of the fact that they're supposed to erase six-thousand years
of history (while apparently just hoping that "it will all come out nice..."), for some reason, the two heros in the book are prohibited from making too many
changes by the government.
You know, the government that's never going to exist
because they're erasing all of history?
No introducing iron, no imparting of future knowledge, they even worry at one point in the book that they're introducing long-bows! This is changing history in the same style that Vietnam was fighting a war!
I can't see any
way for such a proposal to make its way through government circles, nor, indeed, almost any private
ones. It's the kind of "change history" scenario that could only be put forth and implemented by a very small group of absolutely fanatical (and incredibly dim
) people - but that's not who the book has doing it. Somehow, this is supposed to be an Official U.S. Government Project. On this alone
the whole premise of the book (and series) falls to the ground.
Still, I got through the book, annoyed but mildly entertained and started on the second book in Moscoe's series (Second Fire
)...then just had to stop when, less than twenty pages into it, our heros return to the present to see how their changes from the first book have worked and they promptly meet the AH versions of all the people they knew back on their original TL, in spite of the fact that this alternate history dates back that six-thousand years.
Let me repeat that: They have erased and replaced the entirety
of human history, yet when they get back to the "present," versions of the exact same people they left back in the "original" future exist!!!
Heck, they're even working on the exact same
Disbelief suspenders promptly went into overload and I just put the book down and haven't picked it up again since (about four years now).
does apparently change real history - unfortunately, the second book shows it's changed that "real history" into fantasy. Only the writer of The Year The Cloud Fell
has a worse grasp of how alternate history works.
This series is definitely
not on my "recommend" list.