Million Eyes by C.R. Berry – an historical time slip thriller with a contemporary background

 

 

This is a novel which packs more than a punch. An historical novel which sweeps through various points of British history, quite literally jumping backwards and forwards. Featuring many historical mysteries which have engaged academics, conspiracy theorists and many others for years, this book neatly handles subjects of debates  with a bold theory of fictional narrative. This audacious book combines brief pictures of historical events with a contemporary thriller which has the reader wondering what will happen next. Turning pages fast is the sign of a genuinely exciting novel, as Berry boldly assembles a cast of characters in a variety of settings. The theme of the mysterious deaths of members of the royal family in Britain does not mean grand settings of palaces and legions of servants, but it shows these famous figures from history as real people. 

 

The contemporary setting for a chase of certain characters has all the elements of a thriller, especially as the surveillance society which can trace an individual through their use of technology. Apart from the time travel aspect, this is the frightening tale of just how difficult it is to hide in Britain today, where the possession of a mobile phone allows continuing tracking. There are some moving moments as at least one of the characters realises that escape is only possible at the cost of sacrificing contact with family and friends. This book shows great inventiveness and some brutality in the pursuit of a character unwillingly drawn into a fantastic and dangerous situation.

 

The novel includes descriptions of the controversial and mysterious deaths or disappearances of some historical characters. William II, known as William Rufus to distinguish him from his far more famous father, William the Conqueror, is known to have died in a forest while hunting deer. Over the years his “accidental” death has mystified historians, and this book opens with an explanation in keeping with the overall narrative of the book. As a selection of historical mysteries, including the fate of the Princes in the Tower, is featured, it is vital to keep an eye on the date of each section. The research into setting and theories of the events is undoubtedly impressive, and goes a long way to establish the fantasy explanation.   

 

This is a fast moving and powerful novel which I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review. It is completely involving and fast moving, moving through some quite significant traumas at speed. It can be quite brutal, and this is a complex thriller with some violence. It is exciting and engaging, which quickly moves the characters on and creates sympathies and understanding of their actions.

 

This is a skilful and carefully constructed novel with much to offer for historical fiction fans. Berry has a lot of ideas crammed in a book which tackles many issues. There are nods to other well known science fiction ideas, including Doctor Who. This book looks at the significance of the monarchy in Britain and its meaning in history. It comments knowledgeably about modern surveillance, and the vulnerability of individuals. I recommend this book to those who enjoy historically based thrillers and contemporary fantasy.