All you Goodreaders know already, I'm sure, that H.G. Wells invented the concept of the time machine. When I first started reading, I recoiled at what I saw as similarities to The Story of B, a book I loathed, but this narrator has human foibles we can all relate to. All this compiles into a richly developed inner character and a story that is very human in its emotional depth, filled with a lot of literary and historical allusions which are fun and yet not labored, despite the grandiose prose constructions: Archaeologists are necromancers, not astrologers; aspiring to hindsight, not prognostication, though like astrologers we scan for patterns in events.
I never did warm to our neurotic hero, but I was pleased when it turned out that he was, after all that, a caring, decent individual willing to go that extra mile, for love.
This one started out that way -- and for the first time in recent memory, I was going to give up. Once the story actually starts (in part 2), it turns into a very cool time-travelling post-apocalyptic archaeological adventure.
The best way to get me to read a book is to somehow make that difficult for me. He discovers that global warming has partially flooded London and turned it into a tropical ruin, with no signs of recent human life.
David Lambert, an archeologist whose special field is nineteenth century technology (and the works of H.G, Wells) comes into possession of a document supposedly written by Wells that tell of his relationship with a young woman scientist at the turn of the century, a young woman who built a time machine in which she set of on a journey that would, hopefully, take her to the beginning of the year 2000.
Of course, you know that when someone goes to the future, you always get some crummy dystopian world. The story spends a portion in present day England, a portion in the dystopian future, and a portion in the past exploring Davi'd past (through him recalling experiences). Well, David is the worst character I think I've ever read about. "Anita is dead, may as well go 1000 years into the future because I can't live without her". The only real character in this book, aside from Anita and Bird in flashbacks is David. And since David just sits around crying that Anita is dead, the story doesn't do much. I don't think a book is worth reading if it sucks, no matter how good the themes are. It's a dystopian present to have to read this book. Better off just reading H.G. Wells' Time Machine and scrap this crap.
In fact, Wright's novel picks up where H.G. Wells left off in "The Time Machine" a hundred years ago. The forest has taken its revenge, a cleansing retribution for the arrogance of the 20th century's faith in "the divine right of things." mad cow disease has destroyed thousands of years of husbandry, the careless use of antibiotics has generated super-resistant viruses, and industrial waste has rendered human life almost impossible. David tries to confront this lush but disastrous world as a trained professional, but he digs as much into the city's future as into his own past. It's unfortunate that the novel's frank sexual content makes it inappropriate for young readers who have enjoyed Orwell's "1984" and Huxley's "Brave New World," because Wright has written a tale of great suspense and insight.