Format: Kindle edition
Publication: 15th June 2017 by Simon & Schuster UK
Genres: Historical fiction, Sci-Fi
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
December 1348. With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and go to Hell. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries – living each one of their remaining days ninety-nine years after the last.
John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them still further. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived.
As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the reader travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment and war. But their time is running out – can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up?
A copy of this novel was given in exchange for an honest review.
This is by far the most quotable novel I have ever read. Mortimer is definitely one of the most skilled writers of our time, in language and through his imagination. His ability to manipulate the reader to feel exactly how he wants them to feel is to be admired.
To hate yourself is to squander the privilege of being alive.
So this poignant story follows two men faced with purgatory if, in the next six days of their lives, they’re unable to perform a pure good deed. The trick is, for each of the six days they live, they’ll be ninety-nine years in the future. Aside from the barrier this presents in terms of language, fashion and technology, good deeds somehow become harder to achieve through the centuries.
There’s so much beauty in the world, don’t close your eyes to it just because you’ve lost your own small patch of happiness.
This is an excellent piece of historical fiction that highlights the changes, both small and substantial, that have taken place over the last few centuries. Funny and factual, I would definitely recommend this novel to people who enjoy reading historical fiction.
People need a common enemy. War is one of those things that binds us together. You could say that men need someone to oppose – otherwise we start fighting among ourselves.
Another dimension of this novel is that it is highly philosophical. John and William together embrace the prospect of dying while pondering the existence of humanity. I feel as though this dimension of the novel should have a whole genre of its own, a “books that make you think” genre, because that would suit this novel perfectly. Rarely do I come across a book that I read, and I feel a changed person afterwards. This is one of those books.
I finally understand the beautiful secret of dying. It is that one may, at last, escape the tyranny of time.
I’m exceptionally impressed by what a good read this book turned out to be and I hope to explore more of Mortimer’s work because if it’s anything like this novel, I’m sure it’ll turn out to be a great read.