After a recent series of successes, Corey is eager to up the ante on his time-traveling excursions. Although there are a number of time-traveling observers in existence (such as his Papou and his friend Leila), Corey is a rare “Throwback,” someone who has the ability to not only visit the past, but to change it. However, this gift comes with a price:
“You want to save a person,” Corey’s Papou explains. “It should be so easy to do! But you fail and fail and fail. The frustration catches hold of you, the idea that if you try one more time…then you might succeed. You eventually give up. But that doesn’t stop you. You keep going back anyway…” This obsession, called the “chaos loop,” can also lead to other, more permanent damage to the afflicted time-traveler.
Assuring his friends and family that he has everything under control, Corey maps out an ambitious plan to travel back in time to stop Adolf Hitler by any means necessary. With Leila’s (convenient) knowledge of German, the two friends head back to 1930s Germany. Corey will soon discover that changing history on a world-wide level is not as simple as it seems, and every decision has life-altering consequences.
I went into this book with a little bit of hesitation. When the time-traveling mission is to prevent World War II, you hope that the story doesn’t come off overblown and corny. “How do we stop Hitler? Push him into traffic. Great idea, let’s go!” Fortunately, Peter Lerangis’ storyline is more complex than that. He explores several different scenarios, some I hadn’t considered. He also addresses the potential morality of time travel:
“Okay,” Leila hypothesizes. “Close your eyes. Imagine you have a gun in your hand. Somehow, conveniently, you’re face-to-face with Hitler…do you see yourself lifting the gun and killing him? Even though he’s Hitler? Are you capable of that? Or does your hand start to wobble? Do you have second thoughts?” It makes you think…
Then there is the ending. I didn’t really expect it, and of course, the book concludes with a cliff-hanger. Fortunately, the third book has recently come out, so…TO THE LIBRARY!