Battles, Brett. Rewinder.

Seattle: 47North, 2015.

Denny Younger is a very bright young man living in New Cardiff on the west coast of British North America, but he’s an Eight, and people born into that low caste are destined to fill low-level jobs. His father works at the power plant and that’s where he expects the State to assign him, too. The rigid social structure of the Kingdom can’t be avoided.

But his scores on the placement exams at the end of his schooling are so high, he finds himself selected for special training at the Upjohn Institute as a Personal Historian, whose job it will be to track the ancestry of high-caste clients — and that, he discovers, is accomplished by the use of a small, portable, time-traveling device. But there are rules, of course, the most important of which is to never introduce changes into the flow of history. Because even a half-second’s worth of difference can have far-reaching consequences.

Of course, the worst happens and Denny is thrown into a strange new version of 2015, one with Starbuck’s, and the minor traitor George Washington on the money, and Africans on the streets. His world has ceased to exist. Does that mean he has destroyed the world he was born to? And can he get it back? And does he want to?

This author is new to me, though he apparently has a long string of thrillers and mystery novels to his credit. His narrative style is very clean and straightforward and he spins a good yarn. What’s more, internally coherent alternate histories aren’t easy to do, but he manages that part of the story quite well, too. Even better, there appears to be a sequel out now.

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