Fiction Reviews

Conqueror: Time's Tapestry Book Two

(2007) Stephen Baxter, Gollancz, 7.99, pbk, 302 pp, ISBN978-0-575-0-8165-9


This is the sequel to Emperor: Time's Tapestry Book One. It is probably best if you read this one first but it is not absolutely necessary. Book One dealt with the Roman Empire and Britons. In Roman England (well pre-England) there were over the year's a couple of births with the mothers speaking in a strangely and in effect predicting future events. Something odd was happening and during the course of the book there was some brief musing as to what would have happened if history had taken a different course. Now, with Conqueror: Time's Tapestry Book Two the focus is still on the British Isles but we have moved forward to the time of the Norman invasion of 1066 and a prophecy kept by the Lindisfarne monks: a prophecy that comes to pass.

The book is in effect an historical fiction though it is clear that there is some divergence from real history. There is some occasional musing and talk of a time weaver: that someone is messing with time. (The 'time weaver' was also mentioned at the end of book one.)

The Time's Tapestry series is definitely taking shape as one of being an historical thriller with a slight SFnal riff. To be fair to SF-purists there is not enough SF to sustain interest, but for those who enjoy historical fantasy and historical novels Baxter pushes all the buttons and appears to have researched the period reasonably well. Clearly the man is at home writing this sort of fiction as he is harder SF. Meanwhile the background SF riff is slowly developing.

Jonathan Cowie

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