Time's Child

Time's Child

4.5 24
by Rebecca Ore

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Earth, 2308. Multiple pandemic plagues have ravaged the earth beyond recognition. Working desperately, the Philadelphia National Archives uses a mysterious time machine to bring key members of the past into the future, to save humanity from destroying itself.

Pulled from Renaissance Italy, former peasant Benedetta brings a friendship with master artist


Earth, 2308. Multiple pandemic plagues have ravaged the earth beyond recognition. Working desperately, the Philadelphia National Archives uses a mysterious time machine to bring key members of the past into the future, to save humanity from destroying itself.

Pulled from Renaissance Italy, former peasant Benedetta brings a friendship with master artist Leonardo da Vinci . . . and an unprecedented ability to change destiny, aided by her new partner, the Viking Ivar. But it is not easy to reconcile the past and the present, and the time refugees have their own plans for their new world.

Weaving together time travel, quantum mechanics, Templars, and outlaws, acclaimed author Rebecca Ore delivers a powerful tale of intrigue and possibility, and the fight to be free.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Multiple time-travelers strive to save Earth from various plagues in Time's Child, a dark SF novel set in 2308 by John W. Campbell-finalist Rebecca Ore (Outlaw School). Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
“Time travel gets a bit of a twist in this engaging SF novel.”

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Time's Child

By Rebecca Ore

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Rebecca Ore
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780380792528

Chapter One

Benedetta Then and Again

A Species of Afterlife

An angel told Benedetta she was in Purgatory. Benedetta knew she wasn't in Purgatory when she saw a scab on the angel's knuckle. She didn't believe she'd died, even though her body didn't hurt as it should have from the wound she'd received. Benedetta was unsure what this afterlife was, but she was in her body and angels could be wounded. Perhaps this was a game of light and shadows, of things like puppets.

"Confess what brought you to us, sister," said the angel with the scab.

"You say you're the creature of the Lord?" Benedetta said, edging around the walls and feeling for a secret door to the room. Camera obscuras did something to have people on the wall behind the tiny round window. Only Benedetta didn't see a tiny round window, just a mist at the top of the room. This was something like a camera obscura, Benedetta thought. They'd drugged her with opium or that Arab drug the Old Man of the Mountain used, or something. She was not dead. Angels didn't have scabs on their knuckles. But perhaps she should play along if the angel had a good excuse for not knowing her history.

"I'm not the Lord God Almighty, I'm just one of his servants who takes confessions in Purgatory from the unshrived."

Oh, that's a good one. Benedetta smiled. "I was a young novice in a nunnery who was foully abducted by the French."

"That's not the entire story," the fake angel said. "You had been sexually active long enough to have had a child, and you were raped recently. And the man who died with you wasn't your most recent lover."

"Why do you doubt me?" Benedetta asked, genuinely curious.

"Because the Lord tells me you are lying."

"Oh, bullshit."

"That's more how you sounded like when your soul was being brought to Purgatory. As you lay dying."

How do I get out of here? "So, I was kidnapped a couple of months earlier and ran away from those cruel French to the Lombardians."

"And I don't believe the couple of months. Child, confess and save your eternal soul."

Benedetta wondered what the fake angel got out of lying to her. "Prove this is Purgatory and not Hell," she said.

"It would be better if you started telling us about life in the camps," the fake angel said. Benedetta hadn't felt any doors in her complete circling of the room. Maybe the fake angel got down on a rope from the area in the ceiling she couldn't see for the smoke or mist or whatever. Mirrors, perhaps they obscured the openings with mirrors.

Don't panic. Benedetta didn't want to tell the truth, because that's what this creature wanted, and being trapped in a closed room with no windows and being told she was dead and in Purgatory made her angry. The anger warred with the panic and left her momentarily confused. "I went with the soldiers rather than be bored."

"I believe you, my child."

"So you want to jerk off while I tell you about the fucking I did?"

"I'm an angel. I'm sexless."

"Let me kiss the fucking ring." Benedetta grabbed his hand and bit down hard. If she hadn't had her mouth occupied while he shrieked, she'd have told him that angels don't feel pain, much less have scabs.

Other people in weird clothes rushed through the walls, through the doors Benedetta hadn't felt and couldn't find, and grabbed her mouth at the jaw hinge. She spat out blood.

"Why did you bite me?" the fake angel asked.

"You have a scab on your knuckle. You can't be an angel. Your lingua, your Lombardian, sucks. So, what the fuck is this place?" She expected she would die now, but the people holding her simply grabbed her legs and arms and held on. Something hissed against her arm and she thought snake before passing out.

Not a snake, she thought when she woke up.

The angel and a woman in strange clothes sat beside her bed. The woman said, "I know you're not going to believe this either, but you're in an archival facility in the future. Think of it as a library for people. I'm here to explain your legal standing in our culture."

Benedetta wondered how many layers of lies they'd try on her.

The fake angel said, "We're trying to learn about the past and we'd like you to help us."

The woman said, "We saved your life and brought you into the future. A lot of people are more comfortable if they think they died and are in an afterlife they can understand."

Maybe they aren't lying? Benedetta thought this was all too crazy for anyone to try as a lie. Should she pretend to believe it until she could learn more, or just stay confused?

"We're sorry, but I don't understand why you bit me," the angel said. "Why so hard?"

"You were lying to me. Well, thank you for saving me from dying. I can't believe those French. I want out of here."

"We'd like to spare you the culture shock," the woman said. Benedetta didn't know how culture could cause shock.

"We've saved your life," the man said. "Not that we expect you to be immediately grateful, or to believe us. Yet. But can you begin to tell us honestly about your life. We really want to know what you saw, how you lived, what your customs were."

"I want to see the future first," Benedetta said. Her heart was beating very fast.

"You have the right to be treated as reasonably as possible. But I think you should wait," the man said. "Your heart is beating very rapidly."

I've been trapped by magicians, Benedetta thought. "I couldn't believe in Purgatory."

"Most people from the period of Christianity that had a concept of Purgatory as well as Heaven and Hell would find Purgatory believable. Nobody believes they are good enough for heaven—or at least they don't argue about it. And people are relieved to find they're not in Hell," the man said. "I'm Joseph. You can call me Joe."


Excerpted from Time's Child by Rebecca Ore Copyright © 2007 by Rebecca Ore. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Ore is the author of Gaia's Toys, Slow Funeral, and The Illegal Rebirth of Billy the Kid. She works in internet administration and lives in Philadelphia.

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Time's Child 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
By 2308, plagues swept across the earth killing most people and leaving many of the survivors sterile. People from the future send to the Philadelphia National Archive a time machine to gather humans near death from the past and bring them to the present as a library of human learning.--------------- Benedetta, who knew Da Vinci, was one of those scooped away just prior to the French soldiers killing her. Not content to remain a prisoner in a gilded cage, she escapes abetted by Jonah, another incarcerated soul. They free the other time travelers and along with Ivar the Viking steal the time machine. Once they have more machine they plan to scoop people out from different eras and place but there are many people with their own agendas who have plans to manipulate the original people from down-time.------------------- The premise of this paradoxical tale will fascinate readers as people from different times and cultures must overcome their Tower of Babel differences in order to save mankind. The twists are terrific, reminiscent of a classic EC comic (no more or the plot will be given away). The characters especially the heroine and her closest allies seem real as their dissimilarities are greater than their similarities except for core values. Rebecca Ore provides an exhilarating science fiction brave new world thriller.----------------- Harriet Klausner
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