True Path is either a techno-thriller or a science-fiction thriller, depending on the reader. Whatever label chosen, technology, in the form of time-travel, is a big part of the story. True Path is a sequel to the very good Timeslash, which showed the awesome destructive powers of time-travel.
In Timesplash, author Graham Storrs, came up with a truly original take on the effects of going back in time and changing events. Time would rebound from any changes, correcting them, and depending on the magnitude of the changes, a backwash would hit the present time epicentre where the change occurred.
In Timesplash the people using the time-machines were thrill-seekers. Their search for bigger and greater thrills created increasingly devastating backwashes. In True Path the thrillseekers are replaced by terrorists. But this is no cliché as the terrorists aren’t Arab Muslims, instead they are American Christians.
The main characters from Timesplash, time agent Jay and the rebellious thrill-seeker Sandra, reappear in True Path. The story begins with a terrorist kidnapping Sandra. He wants her to help them run a timesplash that will destroy Washington. Sandra’s daughter Cara seeks out Jay to help track down her mother. This leads them both to travel to the United States.
One of the most interesting elements of True Path is its portrayal of a radically changed United States. In 2066, the United States is ruled by extreme religion ideology, sort of like the Tea Party on crack. The theocracy shuns science, in favour of religious doctrine, which has lead to a total collapse of the economy. Women are treated worse than those of the Taliban, and blasphemers face the death penalty. Many readers will alternatively barrack for and against the freedom-fighter/terrorist. The novel’s resolution will surprise many.
The story has two strong women and a strong man at its centre, with Jay’s agent training making him more inclined to think through consequences before acting. While the characters are sometimes a bit gung- ho, their motivations and actions are for the most part believable.
True Path is a well-written techno/science-fiction thriller with an imaginative and original take on time-travel. It is a very enjoyable read.