Title: Traveller – Inceptio by Rob Shackleford
Publication Date: February 2017
Traveller – Inceptio – The cover depicts a “pattern welded sword,” called a Saex, created by Owen Bush, Swordsmith of Kent, England
How long has it been since you were able to get into a really good book and find a long-term companion?
Traveller-Inceptio pulls you in from the first page as you realize this man, Michael, does not belong here–not really. But he is not your ordinary traveler, nor an ordinary man finding himself in extraordinary circumstances. After momentary disorientation, he becomes alert to his surroundings. He is intelligent and well trained–but where is he exactly?
The forest is pristine, almost magical, and ethereal even to the point where he might imagine fairy folk, playing quietly in the warming sun, until the wolf makes itself known.
The reader is then sent to a present day university and introduced to a companionable group of graduate students, tight with familiarity, respect for each other, and goal oriented toward that final step–their doctorates. Each brings to the table their field of expertise and the engineering work is funded, detailed, and answerable. The foil is a fella named Yeti, Phil’s close buddy, whose sole contribution to the group seems to be that of comic relief.
The geeky female, Mel, is joined by Allen and Chris. They meet to form the research team that collectively, with the accident provided by Yeti, creates a machine that will not only impact their own country, Australia, but that of the US, UK and ultimately the rest of the present-day world.
The story weaves back and forth between Michael, who becomes principal protagonist and his discovery by a local village, to the original research team that quickly expands to include governmental, militaristic, and scientific minds from the countries claiming discovery rights. Between the fight for Michael’s successful mission and domain rights of the technology, the plot never slows or bogs down, through the ultimate and deadly clash with the barbaric Vikings in Saxon England.
Michael has been taken in by the villagers, the people and the monks from the village monastery. He teaches, is taught, and in the process meets Tatae, beautiful young widow and village herbalist. He comes to love them all and willingly takes on a trip that will include the young son of the village leader to retrieve and hold safely an important relic that must survive the impending Viking invasion.
Will Michael survive? Should modern technology be employed? The female protagonist, Tatae, is immensely enchanting, mysterious, and endearing, a beautifully fleshed out character, as are Michael and most of his powerful team. This is a fascinating peek into early eleventh century life. You’ll swear you could smell the smoke of the fires, the odor of the villagers, and the scent of fresh rain upon the farmer’s fields. The terror of the invading horde is palpable, setting goose bumps, and you’ll wonder how any survived or why we don’t all possess Viking DNA.
I was given this volume in exchange for an honest review. I honestly loved the people, the plot, and the way the story weaved back and forth to knit together the whole picture, while the climax weakened somewhat, possibly leaving the door open for the second (or third) in a new series. I’ve read other books this long, but felt this first effort could be broken into the start of a great series. It is, however, in need of a comprehensive edit to catch those edit problems missed early, although I have it on good authority that is in the process. If you can overlook the occasional four letter words, you’ll have a superb fiction tale worth sticking around for, with a non-fiction sense of the history of eleventh century England.
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: Rob Shackleford is an English-born Australian. He has also lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, working in various levels of instruction and management. He is the father of two and currently lives on the Gold Coast. ©2017 Virginia Williams