"Pirates of the Timestream" is the third in a highly entertaining series of novels about time travel which so far consists of:
Blood Of The Heroes
Sunset of the Gods
3) This book, "Pirates Of The Timestream"
Ghosts of Time (Jason Thanou)
Soldiers Out of Time (More...)
I would recommend you read them in that order.
The stories begin in - that is, as this is a time travel series, the "linear present" for the main characters, the time they come from, is - the 24th century AD/CE. At that time mankind will, in the story, have colonised a number of nearby planets, discovered time travel and learned the hard way not to try to use it to change history. They found that if you try to cause a "grandfather paradox" e.g. change something you know happened, some "accident" and quite possibly a fatal one, stops you doing it.
Up to the first book in the series time travel had only been used, under strict precautions, for approved historical research.
Some time before the 24th century start point for the first book - probably around the 23rd century AD/CE - mankind had successfully overthrown a group known as the "Transhuman" movement who wanted to use genetic and cybernetic engineering to "improve" the human race but had both insufficient scruples about how to do it and questionable ideas about what kind of Master Race they were trying to create. If you are a science fiction fan, imagine a group with some of the worst ideas of the "Augments" and "Borg" from the Star Trek universe combined with the Mesan alignment from the Honor Harrington Universe created by Steve White's old partner and co-author David Weber.
Or at least, it appeared that mankind had successfully defeated the Transhumanists. This book fills in a few more details about how messy and unpleasant the overthrow of the Transhumanist regime had been on both sides.
In the first book the hero, Commander Jason Thanou (pronounced "Thane-oh" not "Than-ooh") of the Temporal Regulatory Agency, led what was intended as an academic study to 1628 BC to study the historical impact of the volcanic eruption which destroyed the island of Santorini in that year - described in the novel as the biggest natural disaster of which human history provides direct evidence. (Scientists have argued for decades over conflicting evidence about exactly when the Santorini eruption was and how powerful, but it was certainly one of the most powerful, and possibly the most powerful, in recorded history. Tree ring evidence from both sides of the Atlantic suggests there was a huge eruption somewhere in about 1628 BC, the Santorini eruption is probably the most likely candidate and is currently estimated to have been three or four times worse than Krakatoa's 1883 eruption). When Jason and his two academic companions arrived back in 1628 BC, they discovered that the classical legends of Gods and Heroes had far more truth in them than anyone had imagined.
The Titan and Olympian pantheons of Greek and Roman legend were actually alien invaders: members of a space travelling species called the Teloi who had come to Earth many thousands of years before and used high technology to set themselves up as Gods. But although the Teloi had dominated Earth for millennia, history suggested that something was about to curtail their ability to play their sick games with humanity - and Jason thought he could see how to make sure this happened ...
The second book "Sunset of the Gods" began, in linear time, shortly after Jason returned to his own time and recovered from injuries sustained during the mission to 1628 BC. The Temporal Regulatory Agency wanted to establish whether and over what periods of history the Teloi pose a remaining threat, so they sent Jason and a small team to carefully investigate the Battle of Marathon, 1138 years after his previous visit, which is the last event where there is any allegation in the historical record of any of the Greek Gods interfering in human affairs.
When Jason and his team arrived in 490BC to observe the battle of Marathon they find that there was indeed still an alien presence - and the threat they found this time is far more dangerous to all humanity throughout history than the Teloi ever were. The Transhumanists had discovered time travel - indeed they had better time travel equipment than the Temporal Regulatory Agency. And time-travelling Transhumanists, allied to the remaining Teloi, were trying to create a situation where they could return to power in the future.
The danger was all the greater because it was insidious: the Transhumanists knew better than to try to directly change major events in recorded history but were plotting to subtly use them: planting agents and supporters in various periods of time where and when their actions could make possible a future Transhumanist coup.
In this book, Jason Thanou and another team are sent back to investigate whether the Transhumanist time-travellers are active in the Caribbean during the seventeenth century. The wreckage of a modern craft has been found after having apparently crashed in the 17th century.
Pretty soon Jason and his team have infiltrated the Brethren of the Coast under Captain Henry Morgan and sure enough, one of his most remarkable captains appears to have some very interesting enemies ...
The most interesting and entertaining feature of the book is the depiction of Henry Morgan - a real life "Pirate of the Caribbean" whose adventures made those of "Captain Jack Sparrow" look almost ordinary by comparison ...
A number of other Sci-Fi authors have written similar novels including Simon Hawke's amusing "Time Wars" series which begins with "
The Ivanhoe Gambit: 1 (TIMEWARS)
," Fritz Leiber's book "
" and Poul Anderson's "Time Patrol" stories such as "
Guardians of Time
." IMHO if you enjoyed those stories you are quite likely to enjoy the "Jason Thanou" novels and vice versa.
Each of these authors brought different strengths to the genre: in my opinion what marks out this series is the way Steve White brings alive some fascinating periods of real history through the eyes of his modern time travellers and incorporates some of the most remarkable people and events into his stories.
This story and the rest of the series is imaginative, entertaining, and clever. I can recommend "Blood of the Heroes" and all four sequels published as of September 2015.
- Mass Market Paperback: 355 pages
- Publisher: Baen (3 June 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476736774
- ISBN-13: 978-1476736778
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
- Customer Reviews: 12 customer ratings