Having fled the Northern Lands, the inhabitants of the remote island of Turios, protect themselves with ancient magic.
This very same magic prevents King Beanor, ruler of Isk in the Northern Lands from leaving his kingdom and trading upon the southern seas. For 2,000 years the people of Isk have been forced to live in isolation, prevented from trading with foreign shores.
Keen to remove this barrier Beanor enlists the help of the wizard Aldin to remove the residents of Turios, so that he can succeed where all of his ancestors have failed, break down this magical force field and re-open the trade routes of the sea.
Unfortunately, the wizard fails in his task, leaving three survivors: the Priestess, Miril, a woman, Lil and her injured husband Bashinoir. Can Ilis, the young apprentice wizard, succeed where his predecessors could not, and appease his king?
Meanwhile, the three residents of the Temple on Turios have an added problem, besides the failing barrier, someone has travelled to the past and messed with the branches of time to try and remove them from existence. Will this person succeed? Or can the Priestess find a way to protect them from their fate?
“The life of all of the inhabitants of this island depends on the protection provided by magic. If the priests fail, if they don’t fulfil their duties, the consequences may be very harsh indeed.” – Priestess Miril. (p37)
“Get to the point before I cut off your head and throw the rest of your body down the toilet.” – King Beanor. (p54)
“Just be a shadow and a voice in his mind: that’s all you need to drive a man mad, anyway.” – Obolil. (p99)
“Life gives us gifts and brings us pain when we least expect it.” (p102)
The Branches of Time is a very well-written science fiction fantasy novel in which time travel is used to wipe out a colony of islanders and end magical spells that have been in place for 2,000 years. There is also a little mystery to the narrative that both keeps you guessing and whets your appetite for more.
Luca Rossi writes in a simple, easy to read prose that flows nicely as the characters develop and the story gradually unfolds.
The inclusion of an insatiable sex crazed bigamist king however, in the form of Beanor, makes The Branches of Time a rather adult novel with some explicit details, and therefore unfit for any younger readers.
A short book at only 159 pages, it is a quick read and the story ends rather abruptly and with no conclusion, leaving me frustrated and yearning for more. It may have been better had the author waited and completed this story as one novel, rather than splitting the narrative into smaller bite-sized novellas, but I will refrain from being too judgemental in this matter however, until I have read the follow-up novel, Volume II.
Luca Rossi offered me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My summary: At 4 out of 5 stars this is a great concept that is very well executed, but obviously incomplete.