A retro review from March 21, 2009 …
Review: Weaver: Time’s Tapestry Book Four, Stephen Baxter, 2008.
Baxter brings his series to a very satisfying conclusion. Not only do we see the parties who have been trying to manipulate history since 4 BC but, unlike earlier books, we actually get an overt alternate history.
Some of those parties turn out to by Rory O’Malley and Ben Kamen, two physics students in this world’s Boston of 1940. Using Kurt Godel’s mathematical explications of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and J. W. Dunne’s theory of time, O’Malley is trying to alter history. But others want to manipulate the past too. Some are only known by their fingerprints on history, but others are onstage, specifically one Josef Trojan, officer in the Nazi research organization the SS Ahnenerbe, and Julia Fiveash, an English Nazi.
Fiveash is an example of the strong women, for good and ill, that are throughout this series Another is Mary Wooler, an American journalist and historian trapped in England when the Nazis invade in 1940. She and her son Gary meet Kamen there on the eve of the invasion. Kamen is captured by the Germans, and Wooler and a British Intelligence officer began to suspect the extant of the Nazi plans to alter the world’s past.
That invasion is possible because, unlike in our time, the Germans wiped out most of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk, but the timeline of this story seems to have diverged from ours at least as far back as the end of World War One though Baxter never explains why Armistice Day is Nov 9th and not Nov. 11th in this world. The invasion doesn’t occupy all England – and Baxter presents a clever reason why – but the effects on those under the Nazi boot are well depicted through the life of Ernst Trojan, the “good” German soldier who is Josef’s brother, and Gary Wooler. Ernst’s relations with his French mistress and the Millers, the English family he billets with, show the compromises, resentments, violence, and surprising affection that can crop up between conquered and conqueror.
And Baxter ends his story with a surprise entirely consistent with the series.