‘Fifty-One’ – Chris Barnham
Jacob Wesson is a timecop from 2040, sent back to WWII London to stop the assassination of Britain’s war leader. The assignment plays out with apparent ease, but the jump home goes wrong, stranding Jake in war-ravaged 1944. Jake’s team, including his long-time girlfriend, is desperate to trace him before something else goes wrong.
Stuck in the past, Jake must pull from his training and blend in. He clings to the one familiar face he can find, Amy Jenkins, a war widow whose life he saved during the assignment. Drawn to each other by their loneliness and thrown together amid the terror of war, Jake and Amy look to a future together.
But Jake’s future cannot let him go. And when his bosses finally find him in 1944, Jake faces a terrible choice: risk unravelling the modern world, or let Amy die.
I really enjoyed reading this book. After reading a comparison between this and The Time Traveller’s Wife, I admit I was sceptical that Fifty-One could match the intensity that Barnham offered. I was wrong.
True, the whole concept of time travel has been done before but the way this is executed is original and actually interesting. I couldn’t totally predict how the plot would conclude and the way that Barnham creates this reality where it is possible to move back in time is not hard-going, letting you enjoy the plot for what it has to offer. The concept is convincing and Barnham has cleverly not set the novel too far in the future that it is unbelievable. At times I imagined scenes from the film, Minority Report, particularly when the characters were in 2044 London, but again, it just didn’t come across as too “out there” and ridiculous. It was science fiction with the right balance.
Half way through the novel I had the great urge to re-read the Prologue. Flipping back to the start on an e-reader is, for me, easier said than done and when I had finished Fifty-One, I could not help but have a quick flick back to remind myself of what had happened. So, take note: pay attention to what happens, it really gives clues for the final climax of the novel!
Fifty-One is time travel with a conspiracy and a romantic twist. It’s original and the way that the ‘Darnell Jump’ is explained is not too dense. I liked the fact that it was spread out over the plot because I found this more enjoyable and memorable when piecing the plot together. It is a satisfying read and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read something I would have probably passed by. The head warp you feel when considering how historical events could be altered by the ‘Darnell Jump’ certainly gives you food for thought about what our own future can hold and the references to WWII and London give this plot that extra bit of reality.
A really good read and one I would thoroughly recommend. If you enjoyed The Time Traveller’s Wife then you should definitely give this a chance.
This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.