The Fire by John A. Heldt
Reviewed by Julia Flowers writing as A. T. Weaver
“When Kevin Johnson, 22, goes to Wallace, Idaho, days after his college graduation, he expects to find rest and relaxation as his family prepares his deceased grandfather’s house for sale. Then he discovers a hidden diary and a time portal that can take him to 1910, the year of Halley’s Comet and the largest wildfire in U.S. history. Within hours, Kevin finds himself in the era of horse-drawn wagons, straw hats, and ankle-length dresses. Traveling repeatedly to the same time and place, he decides to make the portal his gateway to summer fun. The adventure takes a more serious turn, however, when the luckless-in-love science major falls for pretty English teacher Sarah Thompson and integrates himself in a community headed for disaster. Filled with humor, romance, and heartbreak, THE FIRE, the sequel to THE JOURNEY, follows a conflicted soul through a life-changing journey as he makes his mark on a world he was never meant to see.”
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This is the fourth in the author’s Northwest Passage series and the fourth I’ve read and reviewed.
Again, the author paints a vivid picture of the time period with his attention to detail.
I’ll admit I did not catch the relationship to The Journey until the very end, although the reference to The Mine and The Show was evident in the beginning.
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When Kevin finds his great-grandfather’s hidden stash of gold and diamonds under the floor of his house it is accompanied by Grandfather’s journal. Kevin finds the story there unbelievable until he follows the instructions and discovers the gate into a bygone era.
He makes friends and falls in love only to have it end in tragedy. Although he alters the past, it in no way effects the time in which he originally was born.
The author’s theory of parallel timelines is reminiscent of the one Richard Bach espouses in his book One. A person can exist in multiple timelines and cross back and forth into them. In The Journey, the main character actually meets her younger self and influences her future without having an affect on the original timeline.
Two things I would have like to have seen were Kevin and his great-grandfather acknowledging the relationship between them and I wish Kevin could have met the man Andy interviewed who Kevin thought might be another time traveler.
I am looking forward to the fifth and final book of this series. Although each book can stand alone, I would recommend they be read in order.
John A. Heldt is a reference librarian and the author of THE MINE, THE JOURNEY, THE SHOW, and THE FIRE, the first four novels of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage time-travel series. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at johnheldt.blogspot.com.