The Ministry of Time

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Author: Kaliane Bradley

Category: Fiction & related items

Book Format: Hardback

Publisher: Sceptre

ISBN: 9781399726344

RRP: $49.99

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A 2024 literary highlight in the Sunday Times, BBC, Grazia, Dazed, Sunday Express, GQ, i-D, Stylist, Bookseller and Literary Friction

‘Outrageously brilliant’ ELEANOR CATTON

‘Make room on your bookshelves for a new classic’ MAX PORTER

‘Thought-provoking and horribly clever – but it also made me laugh out loud’ ALICE WINN

‘Funny, moving, original, intelligent, beautifully written and with a thunderous plot’ NATHAN FILER

‘As electric, charming, whimsical and strange as its ripped-from-history cast’ EMILY HENRY

‘Within the first couple of pages I was gripped’ KATE MOSSE

A BOY MEETS A GIRL. THE PAST MEETS THE FUTURE. A FINGER MEETS A TRIGGER. THE BEGINNING MEETS THE END. ENGLAND IS FOREVER. ENGLAND MUST FALL.

In the near future, a disaffected civil servant is offered a lucrative job in a mysterious new government ministry gathering ‘expats’ from across history to test the limits of time-travel.

Her role is to work as a ‘bridge’: living with, assisting and monitoring the expat known as ‘1847’ – Commander Graham Gore. As far as history is concerned, Commander Gore died on Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition to the Arctic, so he’s a little disoriented to find himself alive and surrounded by outlandish concepts such as ‘washing machine’, ‘Spotify’ and ‘the collapse of the British Empire’. With an appetite for discovery and a seven-a-day cigarette habit, he soon adjusts; and during a long, sultry summer he and his bridge move from awkwardness to genuine friendship, to something more.

But as the true shape of the project that brought them together begins to emerge, Gore and the bridge are forced to confront their past choices and imagined futures. Can love triumph over the structures and histories that have shaped them? And how do you defy history when history is living in your house?

Holy smokes this novel is an absolute cut above! Kaliane Bradley leaps into a storytelling league of her own. This book is a deadly serious speculative fiction but it is also one of the funniest books I’ve read in years. It is exciting, surprising, intellectually provocative, weird, radical, tender and moving. I missed it when I was away from it. I will hurry to re-read it. Make room on your bookshelves for a new classic.

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Christie
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Gifted to me via giveaway from Hachette Publishing for review.

In short, clever, compelling and hard to put down.

Extremely well written with solid characters. Different to anything I have read before. Any of the time travel related questions / uncertainty explained efficiently at the beginning of the novel.

Enjoyable characters and a complex, thoughtfully constructed storyline. I did suspect some of the ending in the last quarter of the book, but this didn’t diminish the story itself.

This book could easily be continued as a series but still feels complete and final in story which is nice and heart-warming. No cliff hangers leaving you in a lurch.

Advertised as a science fantasy, comedy and romance. I guess it was all of these, although I would question the comedy, it’s not laugh at loud or perhaps I missed the humour? I would add to the above, a dip into history and reflection perhaps as well.

Some main characters are based on real people from the past, which makes me wonder how they would perceive this given creative licence taken on assumptions of action and character based on photos and historic accounts. If your curious, as I was, you can search online names, ships etc for more information on the individuals and expeditions.

Highly recommend this author and this novel. I will keep an eye out for future releases.

Side note – I prefer the cover for the limited-edition proof over the finalised version (based on the above image).

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