I was expecting great things out of The Map of Time, after reading my friend's review of it. What I was not expecting was that it would be so good and marvellous – a strong candidate to The Best Book I Read This Year.
The Map of Time defies classification, it embodies Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk, Mystery, Romance, Metafiction and even Biography, all of this articulated seamlessly into one book.
The setting is Victorian London, where Murray Time Travel Company offers the chance to travel to the year 2000, and see the the final confrontation between humans and automatons.
There are three main characters, as there are three stories: Andrew Harrington, who has been half-living since Jack, the Ripper murdered the love of his life, the Whitechappel prostitute Mary Kelly, and is quite ready to end that; Miss Claire Haggerty, who feels that she was born on the wrong time period, quite certain that she will never be happy; and finally H. G. Wells. The writer of The Time Machine, which is also an important book within the story, as it motivates innumerable characters to try Time Travel.
I absolutely loved this book – the plot, the characters, the writing, but most of all, the narrator. Although he was not one of the characters, he was the connection between the reader and the London in the book. His tone was quirky, and the entire book felt like a story that was being told to me, and only me. Much like an aside during a theatrical play.
It's hard to talk about the plot of this book, without giving to much away, and believe me, you wouldn't want spoilers on this one. It's full of twists and turns, so much that you end up with a general feeling of suspicion towards the author at the beginning of each part. But by the end, you'll still be in love with the story.
I can say only good things about The Map of Time, a great book, indeed.