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Sojourn    by Jana G. Oliver order for
by Jana G. Oliver
Order:  USA  Can
Dragon Moon, 2006 (2006)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

The year is 2057 and recreational time travel exists, but only for those few who can afford the steep price. Offered mostly to academics, it's proven a very lucrative endeavor for their scholarly aspirations as well as guest appearances on talk shows. Jacynda Lassiter is a Senior Time Rover for Time Immersion Corporation and, as a confirmed adrenalin junkie, figures leaping through time is the perfect job. But there are also drawbacks: leaps spaced too closely together can take a heavy toll and generate serious hallucinations or even death. When Cynda is assigned another high profile leap only hours after returning from her last one, she's prepared to refuse. But her orders are very clear - find an overdue tourist and return him to 2057 before he alters history.

Once she arrives in Victorian London, a time period she's always loathed, complications immediately arise. Her missing tourist is not where he's supposed to be and because she's already suffering from severe hallucinations, Cynda falls ill. Were it not for the timely intervention of Dr. Alastair Montrose, a man who's devoted himself to treating the Whitechapel district's poor, her mission would be in serious jeopardy. Once she recovers enough to continue her search, she discovers that a fellow Rover very close to her has been murdered, leaving Cynda determined to find out what led to his demise. Could it be the work of the infamous Jack the Ripper, whose gruesome murders have struck fear in the hearts of so many? Or the work of dangerous anarchists who want to bring down the Crown and change history?

Those who enjoy multiple plot threads and interconnected complications, well-conceived and interesting characters, as well a large dash of history mixed with science fiction, will revel in Sojourn. Oliver's time travel concept is fresh, innovative and eerily plausible. She also has a rare talent for bringing London and all its Victorian splendor - as well as its horrific squalor - to vivid life. Add to the mix the mystery and fear instilled by the Whitechapel murders and readers are in store for a wonderfully rich, well written and readable story that's hard to put down. Virtual Evil will be the second in the Time Rovers series.

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