Angenga by John Broughton
Time travel, Anglo Saxons and physics problems, there is so much going on in this book that it can be quite dizzying. Happily, there is always a date given at each section, which is useful as there is quite a lot of visiting two periods in history. Of course, as one of the subtitles is “When time no longer exists”, this book is not just about time travel, as the main character devotes much effort to the study of time as a concept. Another subtitle is “The disappearance of time”, as Rick tries to work out how he can cope with Cambridge in the twenty first century, as well as visit a village full of Anglo Saxon people. There is adventure, excitement and all sorts of emergencies as Rick and his friends try to do so much in discovering exactly what is going on in life or death situations. Fast paced, generously written and impeccably researched, this book maintained my interest throughout, and is generally a fantastic read. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this exciting book.
The book opens very firmly in the twenty first century in Cambridge. Rick Hughes is a Phd student specialising in Anglo Saxon languages, with a friend who is a part time metal detecting fanatic. Gary gives him an artifact, a pendant, which he has conserved by an archaeologist Dr Esme Drake, with whom he starts a relationship. Unfortunately as their respective academic careers progress, they grow apart. It is only five years later, that Dr Rick is persuaded to visit the site where Gary found the pendant, and they both dress in Anglo Saxon costume for a display. Before long, Rick finds himself in 870AD, in the Anglo Saxon village that once stood on the site. He discovers many things, as he uses his rather esoteric knowledge to speak the language well enough to appear as a mysterious stranger or seer visiting the settlement. Confused by finding his apparent double in a man called Rinc, he manages to return to Cambridge in 2016, to try and track down an explanation for his apparent journey into the past. As a complete novice in the field of physics and the question of Time, he takes the reader along as he meets a Professor of Physics and tries to work out if he has in fact travelled back in time. Meanwhile, his detailed knowledge of the history of the region makes him realise that the community which he has now been welcomed is in danger from the invading Vikings. As he returns to the settlement he does not go alone, and he discovers a lot about the daily life of the community. Thus the reader learns a lot about Anglo Saxon people, especially when tested, and finds that a less complicated lifestyle still has its challenges and life threatening situations.
This is a book which has many avenues of thought well presented. Funny and often charming, the relationships between the characters are well drawn and dynamic, and make for compelling reading. Though a fictional book there are many points at which I learned a great deal about the scientific questions that are being actively studied which makes many assumptions about the nature of time and historical progression. The world of the Anglo Saxons and indeed some of the Vikings is carefully presented in a lively and engaging way. This is a historical novel with other elements carefully added, and while I am no expert in scientific matters, the arguments seem well established. I enjoyed reading this book, and suggest that will appeal to many people who relish an absorbing adventure.