After rescuing his formerly doomed sister from the past and rushing her into the present, former Chronman James Griffin-Mars is devastated to learn that she has become gravely ill. Without a doctor, it seems as if she will die. As James sets off in search of help, his partner and resident scientist Elise continues to lead their tribe through the dilapidated landscape of what was once known as Manhattan. The situation has become dire; the tribe is low on food as well as under the pursuit of a ruthless Valta mega corporation charged with trapping and killing them. Can they survive long enough for Elise to discover a cure to rid Earth of its deadly plague? Will James’ sister get the help she needs? Or will they be crushed under the boot heel of their enemies?
Time Siege has a different feel than its predecessor. For one thing, James isn’t spending as much time moving about in the past because of his deteriorating health. Seeing as James may die during his next jump, travel is not advised. Without being able to provide for his tribe the only way he knows how, he retreats inward as his crippling alcohol addiction worsens leaving him an even more conflicted character than the first time around. I thought this was excellent character development that creates another level of depth to the novel’s lead.
Other main characters continue to grow as well. Elise steps up in a big way as leader of her tribe as she continues to search for a cure to the deadly environmental plague afflicting Earth. Playing the role of the reluctant leader, she evolves by taking on more responsibility and dealing with James’ struggles with addiction. In regards to “The Mother of Time”, Grace Priestly, while she takes a slight step back in terms of presence, a few returning characters show up to play a big role in the story. I won’t ruin the surprise but Chu reintroduces them in a creative way.
One thing Chu doesn’t seem to get a lot of recognition for is his ability to write action scenes. Just like with his Tao series, the fighting moves fast and furious placing the reader right in the middle of these awesome battles between either large armies or even just two people wearing exo-suits. I’m always fascinated by how sci-fi authors can write such vivid combat using completely fictional technology and Wesley Chu is no exception.
I’m really digging this series. While I have some issues with something presented in the epilogue, I can’t wait to see how the third and final book in the series plays out. I have faith that Wesley Chu knows where he’s taking this and I’m looking forward to finding out. Time Siege is a thrilling, summer-blockbuster of a novel.