Book Reviews

Book Review: Another Chance by Michael Roberts – Correcting Our History

Another Chance is the second book in a time-travel alternate history series. In this case, the history as we knew it was that the British won the American Revolution and have since ruled the world with an iron fist. Thomas Nelson is sent back in time in a ship or device that appears to be of alien origin. His mission was to release George Washington from being captured by the British, help the Continental Army win the Battle of Saratoga, and help get supplies to Valley Forge. He has been sent back with the premise that if he can get the French to join the war effort on the Continentals’ side, they will be victorious.

In the first book, Second Chance, Nelson managed to do the first three. Another Chance finds the French still hesitant to join the war effort. George Washington, Lafayette, and others come up with the idea to have Pale Rider, Nelson’s feared alias, travel to England and kill the Prime Minister, who is the King’s closest adviser and is advocating sending 70,000 troops to deal with the rebellion. It has to be done in secret, so Pale Rider’s actions won’t seem to be sanctioned by the Colonial Government.

The first problem is that “Pale Rider” and company must steal a British ship to sail to England. The Colonial government can’t just give him one. I thought it might have been easier to just have them steal a merchant ship out of a port the British haven’t blockaded, but that’s not how the story goes. Washington assigns John Paul Jones (not the Led Zeppelin bassist) to accompany them, since Nelson doesn’t have any sailing experience.

The result is a tale that’s filled with plenty of swashbuckling adventure and action, even if you have to suspend disbelief – a lot.

I am enjoying this series greatly, despite the obvious suspending of disbelief. Hey, we’re talking time travel here so it’s not much different than an episode of Doctor Who. Nelson has come back armed with information as they know it. Washington was about the only person he knew from history. Lafayette, John Paul Jones, Benjamin Franklin, and others are mysteries to him. He has a cell phone with him, not for communication, but as a library to look up events and people. Nelson frets over the dwindling battery (no one thought to send him with a solar charger?) but gains the insight he needs of these “obscure” men involved in the Revolutionary War effort.

I knew who the mole in England would be, based on the opening of the book. There’s really not much mystery here. There is some suspense about what will happen, though, since the Prime Minister dying during the Revolutionary War didn’t happen in our history. Nelson is changing not only his own history but also history as we know it! That makes it exciting to see how things will develop.

There are a few quibbles I have, such as the solar charger, that hold me back from rating it five stars. Nelson uses many colloquialisms that would not be understood in the 18th century, yet no one pauses and asks what he means. It also bothers me that in a world so drastically different with Britain basically ruling the world, there were many of the same devices we have now, such as cell phones and automobiles. Nelson’s motivation is that his wife, Jenny, was raped and murdered by a British soldier back in his time. However, there’s no guarantee with the changes he’s making to history that she would even be born. It doesn’t really matter, though, because for him there will be no going back. It’s a one-way trip, and he’s found a new woman to love in this time.

I am enjoying this alternate-history/time-travel series. It’s a lot of fun to read, even if it seems unrealistic at times that “Pale Rider” manages to do so much damage with modern weapons.

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