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Three Days to Never Hardcover – Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 420 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company (Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380976536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380976539
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,063,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Germ on 11 April 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not Tim Powers at his best, all the elements are there for another Powers masterwork but they never gel. With previous Powers novels I have devoured them in a day or two and then gone back for more with this one I did not get drawn into the world or interested in the characters. It's hard to put your finger on why it does not work rather like the remote viewing referred to in the book the whole experience is rather detached, perhaps it's the characters, you never feel you're sharing the ride with them, there is no urgency to turn the page and find out what happens next. But as I'm sure someone has said elsewhere even a bad Tim Powers is better than most.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. KAY on 6 Nov. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What has happened to Tim Powers? The muse that guided him effortlessly through books like "The Anubis Gates" and "The Stress of her Regard" seems to have disappeared and instead he's putting out these quasi-supernatural thrillers that require an A3 size diagram to follow the plot.Not only that but the characters are barely two dimensional and after getting halfway through the book you couldn't care less what happens to any of them.At least Brian Duffy and Brendon Doyle in earlier books had quirky personalities and you could follow their escapades,empathising with them but here one character is pretty much the same as any other making it difficult to remember who's who and what's what.If you're new to Powers' writing then try reading anything post "Epitaph in Rust" and pre "Last Call".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen on 24 Feb. 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It was only when I saw the other reviews for this book that I had to comment.

I loved the book, it is complex, imaginatively intertwined with the real world and amazingly self-consistent in its treatment of the hedge-magic used. It compares well with several of Mr Powers other books such as Drawing of the Dark and Last Call.

The only reason that I am not amazed at the reviews is that both my wife and I like to read Tim Powers but we prefer very different books. She loved Declare and the Stress of her Regards, neither of which I enjoyed but she hated Last Call and Three Days to Never. This may be the case with previous reviewers "or even 'The Drawing of the Dark'" indeed! :-) One of my favourite fantasy books ever!

I think it is a horses for courses kind of thing. So. If you enjoyed Last Call then I am sure that you will enjoy this.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By turly on 21 Jun. 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unfortunately I have to agree with the previous two reviewers: this one has cardboard characters and lacks both depth and pacing. It's not a complete stinker, but is probably only for the completists - nowhere near as good as 'The Anubis Gates' or 'The Stress Of Her Regard' or even 'The Drawing of the Dark'.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 55 reviews
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
The Importance of Making the Right Choice 4 Sept. 2006
By J. Brian Watkins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I find nothing quite so thought provoking as a good time-travel story and Three Days to Never ranks among the best I've encountered. It is presented in a mystery/thriller format but with the intriguing twist that paranormal phenomena have been as well developed as more recognizable physics; such as relativity. Instead of Men in Black running around hiding alien technology we have shadowy secret agents using psychics the way the NSA uses computers. A nice wrinkle.

My pet peeve with mysteries is that an author is often either so cryptic that you never really figure out what was going on or presents a story so transparent that you have it figured out half way through. Powers succeeds at bringing the reader forward at just the right pace and at building a solid and satisfying moral conclusion that makes you think after you have finished the story.

What happens when the past can be changed? Should the past be tampered with? This story presents a classic time-travel theme; a causality violation, which is the fancy term (I think) for what happens if you go back in time and shoot yourself or a direct ancestor--thereby making your own existence impossible. Powers takes an interesting angle on the problem; drawing from Einstein and following recent scientific speculation he simply adds a dimension to our current understanding.

But perhaps the best aspect of this story is its treatment of the question of free will--can we ever make up for poor choices? Ends justify the means? Is it ever possible to remove someone from the world completely? Do private choices have public effects? If you could go back and talk to your younger self and know that bad choices will have a terrible effect on a future you is it wise to try?

Having just finished this book, I'm still sorting out the ideas presented, but regardless--it was well written and I look forward to reading more of Mr. Powers work.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
God May Not Play Dice With the Universe 5 Sept. 2006
By A Reader - Published on
Format: Hardcover
But in Three Days to Never, men will try. (Modest spoilers here.)

It is near lunacy, or at least a sure road to regret, to attempt to review a Tim Powers book too soon after reading it, but here goes anyway. Fortunately, with Amazon, one doesn't need a time machine -- just the edit button. I cannot quite say why I liked Declare and Last Call much more than I liked Earthquake Weather or Expiration Date. Nor can I exactly put my finger on why I thought Three Days is more like the latter and not like the former. I suppose it's the superficial similarities to the last two installments of the Last Call Trilogy -- freaky astral projecting weirdos with crazy artifacts and devices chasing the good guys through SoCal to capture the essence of long-dead luminaries.

Digging more deeply, I think what I loved about Declare was that Powers perfectly balanced his story with his attempt to fit historical events into a new puzzle. And similarly, the supernatural elements seemed in Declare (as in Last Call) to compliment the rest of the goings on, not overwhelm them. I think I think that neither is true in Three Days. The attempt to bend the story around the true details of Einstein's existence (and some unexplained Charlie Chaplin events) seems almost forced and not natural. And the supernatural crazies become overwhelming by the end.

I believe that those with a good working knowledge of Shakespear's the Tempest or the biographical details of Einstein's life will appreciate this novel a bit more than I did. Then again, I knew very little about the Wasteland or Kim Philby's life, but still adored, respectively, Last Call and Declare. The book also suffers from one of the problems that I think no time-travel novel can avoid. It either will generally have holes that don't make logical sense, or it will make logical sense but spend considerable effort on side-points explaining why the time travel scenarios are consistent with the framework the novel has constructed. Three Days suffers a bit from the latter problem.

So with some of that negativity out of the way, there are things in this book to celebrate. There are, as in most of Powers' works, moments of devastating revelation. If you're used to the rhythms of his novels and his compulsion to force you into active reading, you will not be disappointed. (As an aside, there is a nice moment in this book where one of the characters who herself must rely on the eyes of others to see has thoughts about what makes a good reader and what makes a bad -- it is an interesting little insight into Powers' story-telling style.) And his masterful manipulation of familiar themes is at times genius, as is his dialogue. There is one running gag throughout the book that is virtually worth the price of admission itself -- when two members of one of the weird factions have conversations over the radio, they give each other signals (code words based on popular music or children's cereals) when to turn the channel to avoid detection. Much hilarity ensues.

In any event, Powers fans will not be diappointed and likely will spend at least one morning with bloodshot eyes. Enjoy!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Another Satisfying Trip Through Powers Funhouse Universe 25 Sept. 2006
By Theo Logos - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tim Powers is the only living writer of speculative fiction who regularly excites my interest, so I had been eagerly anticipating reading his latest effort, `Three Days To Never'. While I agree with others who have stated that it is not among his strongest work, it still looms far above most of what currently passes for speculative fiction, and did not disappoint me. I consumed the book in a day, and it was a most satisfying experience.

Powers does a couple of things better than anyone else I know of working in his genre. The first is to accurately portray human character across its full range of possibilities. His protagonists are almost always flawed, sometimes deeply, and his villains sometimes show discomforting traces of goodness. While he strongly hints that there are absolutes of good and evil in his universe, his human characters always have a certain amount of moral ambiguity, and you sense that his heroes are never too far from crossing the line and falling to the estate of his most monstrous bad guys. In `Three Days To Never', Powers illustrates this more starkly than ever before by using the possibilities of a time travel plot to double one of his characters and use him as both hero and villain - showing the extremes of both nobility and depravity that can exist in all of us.

The other feat at which Powers excels is in creating a fascinating and consistent universe that encompasses nearly all of his writing. The world he writes of is a world we recognize as our own, yet tilted oddly askew - refocused through an eldritch lens and given an arcane, funhouse feel. It little matters which of his books you first enter through into his universe, whether it be the siege of Vienna in `The Drawing of the Dark', cruising with Caribbean pirates in `On Stranger Tides', playing high stakes poker in Vegas in `Last Call', or navigating the deadly cloak and dagger games of the cold war in `Declare' - the crazy logic of his mystical universe remains remarkably consistent, from the monstrous, inhuman powers that lay just outside the spectrum of our daily lives that are summoned with Kabalistic magicks, to the madhouse, anti-logic of his ghosts who hover near us in an obscene caricature of the living world. It is the aura imparted by this peculiar universe which gives all of his work a unique stamp, much like Keith Richards' guitar work does for Rolling Stones songs. `Three Days To Never' is no exception to this rule. If entering the Powers universe sends chilling thrills through you as it does me, you will not be disappointed by this latest of his works.

This book does have its flaws. The connections to Einstein and Chaplin are more forced than are the historical allusions in his other works, and the details of his arcane science are sometimes, well, too detailed. The ending, also, is not as satisfying as it could have been (though consistent with his style), yet when the journey is as much fun as Powers makes it here, I wont quibble about the destination. This book should not be your introduction to Tim Powers (for that see `Last Call'), but if you are already a fan, it should not disappoint you.

Theo Logos
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
superb science fiction espionage thriller 12 Aug. 2006
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In 1987 Frank Marrity's grandma dies suddenly during the New Age Harmonic Convergence. The family comes to the deceased's home in Pasadena where Frank's twelve years old daughter Daphne takes a videotape to watch. The flick is a lost Chaplin classic, but it does not leave the preadolescent watching it laughing. Instead some subliminal compelling symbols awaken a dormant fire starter-kinetic skill inside of Daphne; to her trepidation her new talent leads to the burning of the tape.

Not long afterward, Frank going through his grandmother's documents uncovers a shocking find that she was Albert Einstein's illegitimate daughter. Though he tries to keep this quiet until he can figure out what this means, two dangerous groups learn of his connection to the late great scientist. The Kabbalah cell of the Mossad and a Gnostic sect want Frank, Daphne and the documents; both sides will do whatever to take what they covet as each believes that Einstein discovered a weapon more powerful than the atom bomb, but so fearful of its potential pandemic devastation, he refused to give this weapon of ultra mass destruction to even President Roosevelt.

THREE DAYS TO NEVER is a superb science fiction espionage thriller that proves that Tim Powers (apropos name for this novel) writes tales faster than the speed of light. The action-packed story line is fast-paced yet never loses focus of the two Einstein offspring being in jeopardy with no one but themselves to trust. Readers will root for the precocious Daphne and her dad to defeat their adversaries, but the odds are overwhelming as the enemy comes from two sides and each moment a new one seems to arise. If relativity is genuine, this one sitting tale will receive several award nominations as one of the year's best thrillers.

Harriet Klausner
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
One of Powers' best books 23 Nov. 2006
By Michael Devereaux - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tim Powers is a master of the 'Secret History' fantasy, a form where famous people have motivations, and famous events occur for reasons, having to do with magic and the occult instead of the normal, every-day reasons that we know of and believe. He researches these people and events meticulously, so that his secret history meshes seamlessly with actual events. Therefore, when Powers succeeds in snatching you into his "What-If" premise, our real history is never violated, and it is simply loads of great fun. His last five books have been set in the 20th Century. I found the first three to be sterile reads. A tsunami of magical events and effects, to be sure, but very cold stuff. With 'Declare' and even more so with this book 'Three Days To Never', Mr. Powers has weaved mysticism in with his magic, giving a sense of the religious to it all that is flatly missinig from all his prior books. In 'Three Days To Never', I think Mr. Powers also gives us main characters - teenager Daphne and her father, Frank - that we can finally CARE about deeply, and that is the topper.

I'm recommending both books highly, 'Declare' and 'Three Days To Never'. The magic in both books is not a tired old hashing of all his prior magical constructs, and that is greatly refreshing. There's new magic here in this time travel novel. What happens when you travel through time and arrive at your destination via a quantum mechanics-probability wave mechanism? It's VERY startling, even horrifying. Mr. Powers continues to develop concepts around 'ghosts' that can be disturbing and perhaps even terrifying.

The motivations of many characters develop throughout the book. I was quite often surprised! Surprised in ways that made sense for each character.

The secret history conceit of 'Three Days To Never' is primarily concerned with Albert Einstein. We all know about his brilliant discoveries concerning space and time, and quantum mechanics. In our normal history, Mr. Einstein burned out in the early 1920's and did not produce much of note thereafter. The conceit here is: What if he didn't burn out? What if he then made bold, stunning, later discoveries, but they were so dangerous and frightening that he hid them? And only now, in our modern day, has the mystery of these discoveries come to light. The protagonists, Daphne and Frank, have very compelling reasons for needing to solve the mystery; and there are other factions with very intense interest in wanting to solve the mystery themselves, and gain what fruit may be gained from the solution. It's a great thriller, a great ride.
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