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In the near future, Tibor Tarent, a freelance photographer, is recalled from Anatolia to Britain when his wife, an aid worker, is killed—annihilated by a terrifying weapon that reduces its target to a triangular patch of scorched earth.
A century earlier, Tommy Trent, a stage magician, is sent to the Western Front on a secret mission to render British reconnaissance aircraft invisible to the enemy.
Present day. A theoretical physicist develops a new method of diverting matter, a discovery with devastating consequences that will resonate through time.
Shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of 2014.
a colleague of Flo’s. The other man was an American, but I know nothing else about him.’ ‘If you can recognize them,’ said Lepuits. ‘I will also record what you say as an opinion.’ Tarent moved awkwardly along the row, having to clamber around the boxes on the floor. He quickly looked at the next four bodies and confirmed that he recognized all of them. None of them showed any signs of physical injuries so far as he could see. They all had the waxy look of death, a horrid blankness, a lack of
aware of him. Who could he be? If not Tomak he looked identical to the young man I had lost when the war broke out. A magician? It stretched credulity, but all I knew was that this man reminded me in every way of Tomak – apart from the facial resemblance, which was uncannily close, he had the same hair, the same colouring, sat hunched over his newspaper in a way that was completely familiar to me. He settled his bill, folded his newspaper, which he tossed into a waste receptacle beside the main
the back of the compartment. He took no notice of either of us and was also staring out of the train through a small window beside him. I was impressed by his full but drooping moustache. As he noticed me rousing he acknowledged me with a raised hand. ‘Bonjour!’ I said. ‘Bonjour, monsieur!’ That exchange more or less exhausted my knowledge of the French language so without wishing to seem unfriendly I nodded to him in a companionable way, stood up, straightened my clothes and went across to
bikes and rode at high speed across to the Sergeants’ Mess. Chief Winslow was playing darts and made him wait until his game was finished. He won, which briefly seemed to Torrance to be a good thing. ‘Aircraftman Torrance,’ he said. ‘You are relieved of duties tomorrow until eighteen hundred hours.’ ‘What have I done, Sarge?’ ‘Nothing I know of. You’re to report to Dispersal 11 before nine hundred hours tomorrow. Know where that is?’ ‘Yes, Sarge.’ In fact he did not, but was not about to
Torrance his own name: he was First Officer Dennis Fielden, and gave Torrance an address where he could be contacted – the airfield at White Waltham – and even the address of the ATA headquarters in London, which he suggested, ‘if all else fails’, might be the best way of locating Krystyna. He reminded Torrance that because of wartime security concerns it could be difficult to obtain exact information about personnel. ‘Aircraftman First Class Michael Torrance,’ he said, reading out what he had