Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Crosstime (Crosstime/Blake Walker #1 & 2) by Andre Norton (author), Graham Rowat (narrator)

Tantor Audio, ISBN 9781666101126, March 2021 (original publication audio omnibus edition March 2008) (The Crossroads of Time original publication 1956) (Quest Crosstime original publication 1965)

Blake Walker was found as an orphaned or abandoned child, and raised as the child of the police officer who found him. He has no memories before that day, but while wholly human, he doesn't look quite like any familiar ethnic group. He also has a strange ability; he has a very reliable sense for when something seriously bad is about to happen.

Years later, in Crossroads of Time, he's in New York City, about to enroll in art school, when his sense of impending danger leads to him thwarting an attempted murder.  

The intended victim has ID showing he's an FBI Special Agent, and he asks Blake for another favor. Soon he's involved in a wild hunt for a criminal mastermind--who isn't from this Earth. Neither are the FBI agent and the rest of his team. When Blake is captured by the criminal mastermind and attempts an escape, he encounters the criminal's secret crosstime shuttle, and finds himself traveling through strange alternate timelines, trying to reach either his own Earth, or the one where the crosstime law officers are based. His life is never going to be the same again.

In Quest Crosstime, he's now one of those crosstime police officers himself, and on an uninhabited Earth, he discovers that the local research station is involved in another nasty plot, this one aimed at shutting down more or less peaceful crosstime trade in favor of far tighter control, and targeted raids that will do far more damage to the alternate Earths, for the pure greed of the plotters. In the course of this, one of the two twin daughters of a high-ranking officer is kidnapped, and taken to another alternate world, where she will be used as a game piece to tip the balance in an internal struggle that will benefit the plotters on the homeworld of the crosstime trade and crosstime police. Both daughters are smart, educated, and independent, except for reasons we gradually learn, women aren't allowed to be quite this independent in that home culture. It's another exciting and dangerous adventure for Blake, as well as the twins.

I've always had fond memories of Norton's science fiction, but I was for a long time afraid to go back and reread it, for fear the Such Fairy would have paid it a visit. Recently, I've been rereading--or as in this case listening to audiobooks--and finding her work still holds up very well.


I bought this audiobook, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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