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The Time Engine
4th Book of the Moonworlds Saga
by Sean McMullen
Tor, $15.99, 302pp
Release Date: July 17, 2012
It’s always tough to review a book in a series without having read what came before and I do try to be fair; but…this story definitely does not stand alone. Any book within a series needs to have some elements that stand alone so that a stray reader would be able to appreciate the story and be interested enough in pursuing the other books.

The synopsis tells us that our protagonist is a law enforcement person who, in the course of an investigation, accidently runs afoul of a time machine used as entertainment by a woman from his far future. There is some fun with misunderstandings about culture but it felt rambling and incoherent. There was a lot about the Inspector’s relationships with other characters, both present and past, that left me confused. I’m sure that had I read the previous three books I would have appreciated it much more.

The plot was too convoluted to easily follow and I felt that the author just ran all over the landscape trying to impress the reader. The final twist was rather startling but felt very contrived. Over all, I couldn’t find anything to recommend; but, as I said, anyone reading the whole series might appreciate it more. ~ Catherine Book

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