Navigator; Time’s tapestry 3 by Stephen Baxter

The pace picks up in this, the third part of Baxter’s ‘Time’s tapestry’ sequence. The action moves to Spain, and to begin with, for the first time characters from the previous novel, ‘Conqueror’, appear in this one. As the novel progresses, we begin to get an inkling as to what possible changes are being wrought in the timeline; indeed, with my knowledge of the history of Moorish Spain not being as good as that of English or northern European history, i began to wonder if we had already veered off into an alternate history. Certainly, we get a very good sense of the sort of alternate history we are being steered towards, and Baxter does build a certain amount of tension over which historical path we are going to follow…

There is a price to pay for this, of course. Characterization begins to flag a little as we move quite rapidly through medieval Spain; I felt the characters in the last third of the book were not as well drawn as in the first two thirds, probably because Baxter specifically wanted to move the plot along. But the scenes, the history and the science are well-drawn, as are the torture scenes with the Spanish Inquisition (which I now understand rather better than I used to).

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