Wesley Chu’s Time Salvager presents a bleak vision of mankind hundreds of years in the future. While technology has advanced to the point of interplanetary travel and colony settlement, supplies are running low. Luckily for the human race, they’ve perfected time travel! Using this technology, a select few are tasked with going into the past and bringing back resources in an effort to further humanity’s survival.
Because time travel is tricky and even the slightest modification of the past can have effects on the future, a governing body dubbed ChronoCom was created. This organization trains men and women – Chronmen – to slide into the past, grab what is required and return to the future, hopefully avoiding any activity that could seriously alter the timeline. I say seriously as no matter what chronmen do, a ripple effect will always be created – the key is to make it as manageable as possible. How you ask? By going into what are perceived as “dead time-lines” – think salvaging a ship just as it is about to sink to the bottom of the sea. There’s also a specific set of time laws that everyone must follow – and breaking any time law is met with swift and severe punishment. I’ll get to that later.
Because travel (or jumps) back and forth through time have a tendency to rattle you like paint shaker, Chronmen have a particularly short shelf life, despite specialized training as well as medication provided to try and lessen its effects. So when Chronman James Griffin-Mars receives a job that upon completion would sever his contract with ChronoCom thus pushing him into early retirement, he jumps at the chance to take it.
Remember those time laws? Well, against better judgment, James breaks one of those during said job by bringing back a resident of the past in an effort to save her life. When ChronoCom discovers James’ disregard for the rules, a universe-wide manhunt begins.
Time Salvager reads like a sprawling, sci-fi epic movie – which I suppose makes sense given how quickly the film rights were snatched up. I was surprised with how well everything flowed given what needed to be established in terms of world-building – very impressive work on the part of Wesley Chu considering this is only his fourth full novel!
The ending of Time Salvager isn’t so much an ending as it is a lead in to the sequel Time Siege, which is tentatively scheduled for May 2016. I’m on the edge of my seat when it comes to this one.
Check out my interview with Wesley from 2013!