The idea of time travel is one that’s always fascinated me, and especially the idea of going back to a previous time while retaining a knowledge of the present. I’m sure that writing about time travel without tying yourself in impossible knots or paradoxes must be one of the most challenging things for a writer to do, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve always loved reading about it. That’s why I’ve pulled together a list of five of my favourite books about time travel. I’ve actually never reviewed any of these on this blog – but I’d recommend any and all of them.
- The Obsidian Heart trilogy, Mark Morris
Summary: Alex Locke is a reformed ex-convict, forced back into London’s criminal underworld for one more job. He agrees to steal a priceless artefact – a human heart carved from blackest obsidian – from the home of a decrepit old man. But when the burglary goes horribly wrong, Alex is plunged into the nightmarish world of the Wolves of London, a band of unearthly assassins who will stop at nothing to reclaim the heart. As he races to unlock the secrets of the mysterious object, Alex must learn to wield its dark power – or be destroyed by it.
This trilogy literally blew my mind. It takes every mind-bending aspect of time travel and incorporates them into the story in the most brilliant way. It’s also a great, fast paced urban fantasy with really well written characters that I fell in love with.
- The Chronicles of St Mary’s, Jodi Taylor
Summary: ‘So tell me, Dr Maxwell, if the whole of History lay before you … where would you go? What would you like to witness?’
When Madeleine Maxwell is recruited by the St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, she discovers the historians there don’t just study the past – they revisit it. But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And she soon discovers it’s not just History she’s fighting…
Follow the tea-soaked disaster magnets of St Mary’s as they rattle around History. Because wherever the historians go, chaos is sure to follow.
This series is a recent favourite. It’s the perfect combination of drama, humour and history. I love how the series builds such a unique world and how it moves through so many different time periods – I’ve learnt a lot!
- The All Souls trilogy, Deborah Harkness
Summary: It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.
A world of Witches, Daemons and Vampires.
A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past … and the key to their future.
Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it all.
This is one of my favourite trilogies. It blends fantasy with the world of academia and an epic romance that challenges boundaries on every level. Most of the time travel comes in book two, ‘Shadow of Night’, but it’s well worth the wait, with the central characters becoming immersed in the world of 16th century London.
- The River of No Return, Bee Ridgway
Summary: On a lonely battlefield in Spain, 1812, Lord Nicholas Falcott, Marquess of Blackdown, is about to die. But, the next moment, he inexplicably jumps forward in time nearly two hundred years – very much alive. Taken under the wing of a mysterious organisation, The Guild, he receives everything he could ever need under the following conditions: He can’t go back. He can’t go home. He must tell no one.
Accepting his fate, Nicholas begins a life of luxury as a twenty-first century New York socialite, living happily thus for the next ten years. But, when an exquisite wax sealed envelope brings a summons from the Alderwoman of The Guild, Nicholas is forced to confront his nineteenth century past.
Back in 1815, Julia Percy’s world has fallen apart. Her enigmatic grandfather, the Earl of Darchester, has died and left her with a closely guarded secret, one she is only now discovering – the manipulation of time. In terrible danger from unknown enemies, Julia flees her home to the sanctuary of neighbouring Falcott House. In this strange place Julia and a recently returned Nicholas are drawn to each other and together they realise how little Julia knew about her beloved grandfather and begin to understand his ominous last words… ‘Pretend.’
I loved the idea behind this and found it to be a really interesting new take on the concept of time travel. As well a great story complete with secrets to be uncovered and a mysterious organisation to investigate, there’s also a romance element that I enjoyed. All in all great escapism.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
Summary: When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves… But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss…
I couldn’t do a list of time travel books and not include Harry Potter. This is one of the first books that really got me thinking about the concept of time travel and one of my favourites of the series.