Three Days to Never
by Tim Powers
Review by Gayle Surrette
William Morrow & Company Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0380976536
Date: August, 2006 List Price £14.90 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Three Days to Never takes place in, you guessed it, three days. However, it also has flashbacks, flashforwards, and lots and lots of actions. Since the story involves quantum physics and essentially time travel as well as mysticism, there are also, in some cases, two sets of the same people involved in the action.
The unfortunate part of reviewing this book is that it's very difficult to tell you anything without giving away some of the plot. But I'll give it a go. Frank Marrity and his daughter Daphne check up on Frank's mother who had called him and said she'd burned down the small shed in her back yard. While checking it out, Frank and Daphne find the shed intact although soaked with gasoline, a cement slab with Charlie Chaplin's hand and footprints, and a VHS tape of Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Later watching the tape, Daphne learns it isn't the movie she thought it was, instead it was the only copy of a Chaplin film that assists the viewer in achieving an altered state of consciousness. Daphne, who has a bit of psychic ability and a link with her father, ends up setting her room on fire. At this point, things go into high gear. There's an Israeli and a German secret undercover operation trying to get the tape and cement slab and a time machine. There's lots of characters with mixed agendas and motives added to the mix.
Once, I got into the book, I found it very hard to put down. I was confused at first but eventually sorted the various parties out. It will be up to the reader to determine the good, the bad, and the misguided -- I have my own ideas about who falls in which category but won't spoil the read with my impressions.
It's not an easy book to read. There's a lot going on and you'll need some non-interrupted reading time at the beginning of the book to get the plot and characters straight in your mind. Once you do that, hang on because it doesn't matter what is happening outside the book, you won't want to put it down.