My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Unexpected and fresh!
Aru and Nemi were in their seventh year of hard penance to Trikaal Devi, the Goddess of Time, when she awoke in response to their devotions. The men’s goal was to be granted a boon for their long dedication and the goddess did not disappoint. Aru requested he be taught the skill of seeing into the future and the past. Nemi, at first requesting immortality, was denied, so subsequently asked that the goddess teach him to time travel. She immediately whisked them both out of their mortal bodies to a place where time moved at a different pace and where they were schooled for a thousand years on the techniques they’d requested. When they were returned to their bodies mere hours had passed. As a caveat to the goddess granting their wishes the men agreed to their lifelines being tied one to the other: if one died, so did the other. The two men separate and return to their own homes and families with their new gifts.For Aru, being able to read the future did not mean that anyone would actually believe him, and when he foresaw that the dam near his village was about to break and deluge the area, he tries to warn his neighbors. He and his pregnant wife are publicly scorned and driven out of their home to hide in an abandoned shack far away.
On the other hand, Nemi takes full advantage of his ability to travel to the future and past and inhabited the bodies of wealthy, famous, and privileged people living in the time-slice he selected to visit. He possessed the bodies of great kings and using his new found power and privilege he embarked on reigns of terror, death, and destruction. The power and possibilities turn his mind to evil madness, and fearing Aru might come to harm, Nemi inhabits the body of the king of this own time-slice and imprisons Aru in a jail cell at the palace. Separated from his beloved Rutuja, Aru can only visit her and his newborn son in his time reading visions. But Aru comes up with a plan.This is a prequel to the Time Travelers series and the author unfolds the exciting backstory of time-demons and time-readers, two creations that are integral to the series. The mythology involved is still pretty new to me so the path the story takes is unexpected and fresh (just as the first two books in the series are.) It is not necessary to read the prequel before beginning the series, I read it after Book 2 and maybe that is why some of the revelations were so enjoyable for me. I highly recommend this story as well as the entire series.
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