City of God: Transgression, by R.S. Ingermanson, is a fast-paced, lightly romantic time-travel story set in ancient Jerusalem. The tale is fairly fun, and the characters are solid enough to have kept my interest. The technical chitchat about the “timeline self-intersecting loop” (a.k.a. “time machine”) made my eyes glaze. The author is a physicist; I imagine most readers are not. It was over my head!
I did find some thought-provoking ideas in both the concept of time-travel (whether one travels back into their own universe or an alternate) and in the theological debates, though they both got a little repetitious. The tests to the characters’ faith(s) nicely ratcheted tension and gave them stakes beyond the obvious “stop the bad guy / save the world.”
I found the descriptions of the setting a little too light to make me feel completely immersed. It was suggested that the characters saw a lot they’d come to expect, but that it was “different.” I wanted to see more of how it was different, and more (besides the difficulty of male/female social customs) about how the characters experienced this journey through their senses. It seems like it would be completely jarring.
I’d have liked to give this a higher rating than three stars because the writing was decent, because of the aforementioned thought-provoking, because it was a clean read, and because there was plenty of action. But the antagonist was clumsy at best, and made a poor foil for the other characters. The ending was an obvious cliff-hanger (in the manner of “the axe descended toward his head,” leaving one to make assumptions), rather than gently wrapping up this part of the story while leaving it open for further adventures. And the epilogue was sappy. Really sappy…
What if you were studying for your Ph.D. in archaeology and decided to take a break from your crummy life for the summer by working on an archaeological dig in Israel?
What if you met a great guy in Jerusalem who happened to be a world-famous theoretical physicist working on a crazy idea to build a wormhole that might make time-travel possible … someday?
What if he had a nutball colleague who turned the theory into reality — and then decided to use YOU as a guinea pig to make sure it was safe?
What if the nutball had a gun and went on a crazy, impossible mission to hunt down and kill the apostle Paul?
It’s A.D. 57 when Rivka Meyers walks out of the wormhole into a world she’s only studied in books. Ancient Jerusalem is awesome! Rivka can’t believe her friend Ari Kazan’s theory actually worked. But when she runs into Ari’s wacko colleague, Damien West, in the Temple, Rivka starts to smell a rat.
When Ari discovers that Damien and Rivka have gone through a wormhole that’s on the edge of collapse, he has to make a horrible choice: Follow them and risk never coming back — or lose the woman of his dreams forever.
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Have you read it yet?
What did you think? Share in the comments!