In John A. Heldt’s The Lane Betrayal, a brilliant Virginia physicist closes-in on the greatest invention of all time, a time box. Or perhaps it’s the most dangerous invention of all time. Worse than an atomic bomb since it could change the course of humanity. Hmm.
If you’ve ever read Stephen King’s 11/22/63, then you know there are moral and ethical questions to the possible concepts of time travel that go beyond Hollywood’s Back to the Future. And even if time travel was possible, and you went back to the month before President Kennedy’s assassination, would stopping it or letting it happen to be best for the world? Who knows?
What Virginia physicist Mark Lane knows is that his bankrolling partner, Robert Devereaux, has plans for his time box. Plans that would change the world into a place only Devereaux wants. It’s a chilling vision. Something Hitler and the Nazi party could get behind.
As for Lane, he can destroy the boxes, or escape to the relative safety of 1865. Now I’m no scientist, but I’ve got to assume that boing back in time 150 years is going to make things dangerous for me, since there’s a whole different world of infections, medicine, and so forth back there. Still, Lane doesn’t want Devereaux to take his disappearance out on his family, so they come with him.
That puts the physicist and his wife into Civil War times with people that think very differently than he and his family do. That’s my favorite part of this story. And it’s well developed. Characters take on new traits, deal with the loss of friends from the future, and struggle with their emotions for people who should have stayed in the past.
I was impressed with the depth of the antagonist. There are no cardboard characters here, and the story moves quickly. As someone who lived in Virginia and spent time walking the Civil War battlefields, it was fun to go back in time again to see the US as it was oh so long ago.
The book fits neatly into the historical fiction – time travel romance genre’s, and there’s enough action-adventure to keep me happy. It should keep you happy too.
The Lane Betrayal is 299 pages, and available in paperback as well as Kindle (at $3.99) – and Kindle Unllimited.