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The Ivanhoe Gambit (Timewars) by Simon Hawke
Review by Drew Bittner
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Kindle Edition  ISBN/ITEM#: B00ENI928G
Date: 18 August 2013

Links: Author's Wikipedia Entry / Show Official Info /

In the future, the U.S. Army Temporal Corps ferrets out dangers to history. What dangers? Well, when criminals have the power to travel in time, nearly anything can happen...

In The Ivanhoe Gambit, author Simon Hawke kicked off a series that was to redefine chronal combat for the '80s and '90s, meshing historical and literary adventure in a way few have tried to essay. Almost needless to say, it was a staple of my college years and thereafter.

Fresh off campaigning with Scipio against Hannibal, Lucas Priest, his buddy Bobby Johnson and two others have a mission in Old England. King Richard the Lion-Hearted has been kidnapped; so far, so good, as that actually happened. But he has not been freed--which is a threat to history. In fact, he's been kidnapped a second time by a rogue referee (one of the Temporal Corps' elite), who imagines he will replace Richard and act out a fantasy of being a king. So Lucas Priest and his team must try to set right what's gone wrong, even though two prior teams have failed.

Given the nature of temporal mechanics, the team is under a huge burden. They must stop the demented referee's plan, inflicting minimum damage to the timeline, before their enemy manages to split the timeline and create temporal chaos. If that happens, all of history becomes mutable and spacetime itself could collapse as two rival timelines struggle for dominance.

Priest and his team are sent back to England, where they must impersonate the knight known as Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe and the infamous outlaws Robin Hood and Little John. There are snags right off the bat. It turns out Robin is a drunk incompetent; Maid Marion is the brains behind the operation, and she quickly susses out that Johnson (chosen to play Robin) is an impostor.

Meanwhile, Priest has his own problems when he confronts an uncanny knight named Andre de la Croix and makes a fateful discovery. A foolish mistake and a catastrophic setback forces Priest to enlist de la Croix and a temporal exile named Hunter into his mission, which is a huge gamble; if these two fail, history itself might be undone.

Hawke launched a terrific series in this volume, now available as a Kindle ebook here. If you like your time travel flavored with historical and literary personages meeting in unlikely situations, this is the series for you.

Highly recommended.

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