The Forever Engine
by Frank Chadwick
Cover Artist: Adam Burn
Review by Mel Jacob
Baen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781451639407
Date: 07 January 2014 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Forever Engine is both a time travel and steampunk novel by Frank Chadwick. Invited by a British comrade-in-arms, Jack Fargo arrives in rural England to discover a massive laboratory that has somehow transported items from the past into the present. However, they now fear someone is changing the past and will eventually destroy the world as they know it. They want Jack to help them prevent that.
Jack is now a college professor, but in the past he was with Special Ops in Afghanistan. He has no desire to return to that life, but is forced into helping his friend. A massive blast occurs, and Jack wakes in a hospital, but unlike any modern facility. He has been seriously injured, but survived. Now British military intelligence is interested in him.
He soon learns he has arrived in the alternate world of 1885 where airships travel to Mars. He meets with several scientists including scientists John Tyndall and William Thompson, a politician, and military intelligence men. Jack also meets Nicolai Tesla an avowed enemy of Thomas Edison.
Assassins come by airship and invade the secure house where Jack is being held. The attack occurs during a meeting with Thompson and the politician. Several people are killed. Thompson and Jack survive.
The military intelligence group has discovered the same problem as the scientists of the future and are anxious to resolve it. They believe the 'Old Man of the Mountain' is responsible. He supplies drugs and fanaticism to his assassins. They want to overthrow the nobility among other things and create a new utopia.
An admixture of science, imagination, and humor moves the action forward and provides a fun read with plenty of excitement. Chadwick provides brief notes on the historical persons in the novel. Many readers will hope Chadwick continues to write of his alternate world. He is a prolific game creator who has now turned to novels.