The River of No Return

The River of No Return

4.1 27
by Bee Ridgway
     
 

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In Bee Ridgway’s wonderfully imaginative debut novel, a man and a woman travel through time in a quest to bring down a secret society that controls the past and, thus, the future.

“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and

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Overview

In Bee Ridgway’s wonderfully imaginative debut novel, a man and a woman travel through time in a quest to bring down a secret society that controls the past and, thus, the future.

“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.” Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman.

In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Elizabeth Hand
…wonderful…Ridgway spins an intricate narrative in elegant prose that combines the best of various genres—spy thriller, historical romance, science fiction, fantasy. Throughout, her juxtaposition of past and present is dazzling and often amusing…The River of No Return has the feel of an instant classic, along the lines of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Readers will wish they could stop time to savor every page.
Publishers Weekly
Ridgway makes her debut with an accomplished if sometimes slow-going literary mash-up. In the midst of battle, Lord Nicholas Falcott suddenly jumps 200 years into the future. Finding himself in 2003, Lord Nicholas forges a new life as “Nick Davenant” and serves in a time-traveling secret society known as the Guild. But 10 years after he jumped, Nick is told he’s being sent back to 1815 on a vital mission. While investigating the Guild’s enemies and hunting for the invaluable Talisman, he’s reunited with his sweetheart, Julia Percy, who’s just started to discover time-traveling gifts of her own. But a war over the past and the fate of the future, as well as desperate attempts to find the Talisman and use it to avert catastrophe, promises either to bring Nick and Julia together or tear them apart. Ridgway offers a well-crafted blend of science fiction, romance, mystery, and historical fiction, but stumbles with overlong explanations that, while helpful in untangling the story’s convolutions, stall the plot. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"A wonderful first novel...Ridgway spins an intricate narrative in elegant prose that combines the best of various genres - spy thriller, historical romance, science fiction, fantasy. Throughout, her juxtaposition of past and present is dazzling and often amusing...The River of No Return has the feel of an instant classic." - Washington Post  

"A highly entertaining romp; her historical details are accurate, and the character are believable. Fans of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series should enjoy this time-traveling romantic adventure, which may also attract readers who like historical fiction with a twist." —Library Journal

“In her stellar debut, Ridgway manages the permutations of the time-travel trope with originality and aplomb.” —Booklist

“Ridgway offers a well-crafted blend of science fiction, romance, mystery, and historical fiction.” —Publishers Weekly

"Bee Ridgway's deliciously fun debut covers ground similar to smart bodice rippers such as Outlanders and Discovery of Witches." - All You

"[A] passionate, thought-provoking and consistently fun debut that's best described as a Regency romance wrapped in a spy novel covered in science fiction." - Shelf Awareness

"Verdict: Buy, and make sure to start it on a day you don't have to go to work." - Book Riot

"The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway is teh kind of book that is meant to be read under the covers with a flshlight." - Chicago Reader

“A compelling race through time in a historical world turned upside down—the Regency as you’ve never seen it before. Take one nobleman and one gently born lady; add time travel, intrigue, a vast conspiracy, and a wicked way with words; shake; and serve.” —Lauren Willig, author of The Pink Carnation series
 
“While on its shining surface The River of No Return is a fantastical time traveling page turner, it is also a novel that takes on complex issues of culture and nationalism and how or memories form us. And it is a riveting love story to boot. Bee Ridgway is a treasure and her debut is a triumph.” —Jennifer Gilmore, author of Golden Country and Something Red 

"The only thing more fun than reading this book would be to actually travel through time yourself. Erudite and beautifully crafted, The River of No Return is at the same time a lush, riotous fantasy. Ridgway's ingenuity and charm are apparently without limit."  
—Heather Love, R. Jean Brownlee associate professor in the humanities, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Feeling Backward  

"The River of No Return is an innovative and sophisticated first novel. At the heart of this entertaining story--set primarily and convincingly in Regency-era England—is a serious and timely question: what does it mean to be on the winning side of history?"  —William Galperin, Professor of English, Rutgers University, and author of The Historical Austen

"I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what else Ridgway has in store and hoping that it will be as delightful as her debut."  — Susie Bookworm

"I've never read a book quite like The River of No Return...Stunningly original and full of a cast of fascinating characters." — Lovely Books Blog

"Be warned. I lost sleep over The River of No Return, and you probably will as well. Once you start, it's hard to walk away." — Bookshelf Fantasies

"It's difficult to write a book that is so completely captivating, yet Ridgway accomplishes it like an expert." — S. Krishna's Books

"The River of No Return is a unique time traveling story with a beautiful romance and nothing less than page-turning intrigue that had me swooning." — It's a Book Life

"I heartily recommend Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return to fans of Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, Jennifer Lee Carrell's Interred With Their Bones, historical fantasy, time travel novels, and even Regency romance...It's a deep and nuanced novel which belnds genres and blurs the lines between them. And it is, above all else, an enthralling story." - The Bookwyrm's Hoard, 5 stars

"Since Ridgway is a professor of history at Bryn Mawr College I expected meticulously researched Regency England (which is delivered), but what I didn't foresee was a swoon-worthy romance playing a strong role. I'll take an addition like that any day." - Book Harbinger

 

“[A] novel that fans of hardcore fantasy and literary fiction alike can get behind. The River of No Return is a gorgeous, sweeping debut that is easy to get lost in.” - BookPage 

“I was spellbound by this book. Hands down one of the most captivating books I have read in a long, long time.” - Bossy Italian Wife 

Library Journal
Nicholas Falcott was about to die in battle in 1815, but he wakes up in a modern London hospital instead. Initiated into the Guild, a powerful group of men and women capable of traveling through time, Nick is asked to return to 1815 to seek a powerful talisman and hunt the Guild's enemies. Nick discovers his life is as he left it and ready to pull him back. Meanwhile, Julia Percy, part of Nick's abandoned past, has lost her grandfather's protection and is faced with a cruel and power-hungry cousin who is convinced Julia knows about their grandfather's ability to play with time. Julia and Nick are soon caught in a dangerous adventure in which the fate of the future itself hangs in the balance. VERDICT Despite signs of a novice writer (e.g., detailed explanations through dialog), this debut novel by Ridgway (English literature, Bryn Mawr) is a highly entertaining romp; her historical details are accurate, and the characters are believable. Fans of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series should enjoy this time-traveling romantic adventure, which may also attract readers who like historical fiction with a twist. [See Prepub Alert, 10/28/12.]—Michelle Martinez, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Literate time-travel exercise by English professor and debut novelist Ridgway. No, it's not the river plied by Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum, but instead the river of time that we're talking about. Nicholas Falcott, nobleman and cavalryman, is in big trouble with one of Napoleon's dragoons one minute and recovering in a London hospital nearly two centuries later, where a mysterious stranger--always a mysterious stranger--tells him, "You are in the care of the Guild." As though in some witness protection program, Nick will be assigned a new time and place and name and given what he needs to live comfortably; the stranger informs him that he himself "jumped from Aachen in 810 and landed in 1965" and, for complex reasons, hasn't been able to go to Germany since. Yet time has a way of moving on its own; as another mysterious figure, a Russian named Arkady, tells Nick portentously, "Volga: the Queen of Rivers. Mississippi: the Father of Waters. Amazon: the River Sea. The river of time is a thousand times greater than these. As wide and deep as the universe itself." So it is, and though Nick is practical-minded enough to demand that Arkady "[s]top speaking in metaphors," he goes with the flow anyway. Not much happens for all that, but Ridgway's talky narrative is smart and often funny--and, of course, ends with enough of an opening to permit a sequel or two. It's not especially distinguished, but bookish fantasy fans who make it a point to keep up with Doctor Who will like this one.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410464057
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
11/28/2013
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
735
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A wonderful first novel...Ridgway spins an intricate narrative in elegant prose that combines the best of various genres - spy thriller, historical romance, science fiction, fantasy. Throughout, her juxtaposition of past and present is dazzling and often amusing...The River of No Return has the feel of an instant classic." - Washington Post  

"A highly entertaining romp; her historical details are accurate, and the character are believable. Fans of Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series should enjoy this time-traveling romantic adventure, which may also attract readers who like historical fiction with a twist." —Library Journal

“In her stellar debut, Ridgway manages the permutations of the time-travel trope with originality and aplomb.” —Booklist

“Ridgway offers a well-crafted blend of science fiction, romance, mystery, and historical fiction.” —Publishers Weekly

"Bee Ridgway's deliciously fun debut covers ground similar to smart bodice rippers such as Outlanders and Discovery of Witches." - All You

"[A] passionate, thought-provoking and consistently fun debut that's best described as a Regency romance wrapped in a spy novel covered in science fiction." - Shelf Awareness

"Verdict: Buy, and make sure to start it on a day you don't have to go to work." - Book Riot

"The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway is teh kind of book that is meant to be read under the covers with a flshlight." - Chicago Reader

“A compelling race through time in a historical world turned upside down—the Regency as you’ve never seen it before. Take one nobleman and one gently born lady; add time travel, intrigue, a vast conspiracy, and a wicked way with words; shake; and serve.” —Lauren Willig, author of The Pink Carnation series
 
“While on its shining surface The River of No Return is a fantastical time traveling page turner, it is also a novel that takes on complex issues of culture and nationalism and how or memories form us. And it is a riveting love story to boot. Bee Ridgway is a treasure and her debut is a triumph.” —Jennifer Gilmore, author of Golden Country and Something Red 

"The only thing more fun than reading this book would be to actually travel through time yourself. Erudite and beautifully crafted, The River of No Return is at the same time a lush, riotous fantasy. Ridgway's ingenuity and charm are apparently without limit."  
—Heather Love, R. Jean Brownlee associate professor in the humanities, University of Pennsylvania, and author of Feeling Backward  

"The River of No Return is an innovative and sophisticated first novel. At the heart of this entertaining story—set primarily and convincingly in Regency-era England—is a serious and timely question: what does it mean to be on the winning side of history?"  —William Galperin, Professor of English, Rutgers University, and author of The Historical Austen

"I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what else Ridgway has in store and hoping that it will be as delightful as her debut."  — Susie Bookworm

"I've never read a book quite like The River of No Return...Stunningly original and full of a cast of fascinating characters." — Lovely Books Blog

"Be warned. I lost sleep over The River of No Return, and you probably will as well. Once you start, it's hard to walk away." — Bookshelf Fantasies

"It's difficult to write a book that is so completely captivating, yet Ridgway accomplishes it like an expert." — S. Krishna's Books

"The River of No Return is a unique time traveling story with a beautiful romance and nothing less than page-turning intrigue that had me swooning." — It's a Book Life

"I heartily recommend Bee Ridgway's The River of No Return to fans of Deborah Harkness's All Souls Trilogy, Jennifer Lee Carrell's Interred With Their Bones, historical fantasy, time travel novels, and even Regency romance...It's a deep and nuanced novel which belnds genres and blurs the lines between them. And it is, above all else, an enthralling story." - The Bookwyrm's Hoard, 5 stars

"Since Ridgway is a professor of history at Bryn Mawr College I expected meticulously researched Regency England (which is delivered), but what I didn't foresee was a swoon-worthy romance playing a strong role. I'll take an addition like that any day." - Book Harbinger

 

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