- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 1 minute
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 16 Jun. 2017
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B071KGDN4H
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Outcasts of Time Audiobook – Unabridged
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The idea is deeply fascinating, especially if you've ever stopped to wonder how people viewed the world in times past or have ever stood in an open space and realised that it too will have been physically occupied by other people back though thousands of years all with very different hopes, aspirations and outlooks on life to yourself. After all if you're alive today it's because someone in your direct line survived the plague, the protestant reformation, the English civil war and countless other epoch defining events.
If you're looking for an action-packed thriller with a strong storyline then this book isn't for you as the actual plot of events that occurs to the characters are 'relatively unremarkable', however with this book the journey is the thing not the story - and I loved it!
It's both the small and large differences that are noted by our travellers through time which makes it so interesting; differences in technology, lifestyle and manner of dress. They reflect upon changes in life attitudes and outlook, changes in goals & aspirations. The travellers are particularly disturbed by the juxtapositional changes in the Christian expression of faith and how it jars with their own 14th century world view.
It’s a deeply reflective observation of the human condition through time by someone from a culture so alien and yet vaguely familiar to ours when we acknowledge that time transcends all the most basic of human needs: to understand 'why are we here'; to make something more of yourself; to be loved and to love in return; and care and concern for family and friends.
Some quotes from the book sum it all up for me :
"I’ve seen all Christian life laid out, as on a table at a feast –and I’ve dipped my fingers into the sauces and I’ve tasted the soul of mankind in its many forms, and at the end of the day, I’ve got to say, it has left a bitter taste in my mouth."
"the cleverer that man has become –what with all his clocks and spinning machines, blowing houses and steaming ships –the more he’s used all such innovation against his fellow man."
"The man who has no knowledge of the past has no wisdom."
and finally ...
"If we wish to understand our own place on earth, we must seek to understand those who have gone on before us. We must look beyond the present moment and see ourselves reflected in the deep pool of time as individual elements of a greater humanity"
different and indeed it was.
Two brothers in 1348 have got the plague and are offered six more days
with their family or six days in the future, each day 99 years on from
the previous day.
Certainly different, and interesting seeing the changes they notice on
each successive day: the landscape, the dress, the ways of the people,
the change in buildings and the dialogue between the brothers and those
they encounter are entertaining.
The only slight downside for me was the little excesses of religion, but I
suppose those back in 1348 pretty much lived by it, so let's give the
author a free pass on that little gripe.
I was't disappointed. We meet John and William, who are travelling home during the time of the Black Death in 1348. Short story version is that the contract the plague and make their way to a stone circle where they are given the choice of either going home to John's beloved family (and risking them all dying of plague) or spending the next six days experiencing time 99 years in the future for each day. So they visit 1447, 1546 until 1942. John has the mission to commit a good deed during this time, which he tries his hardest to do.
That's the basic plot but there's so much more to it than that. We see the future, our past, develop through the eyes of someone alive in the 14th Century. Seeing this future world in this manner shows us so much about ourselves, and this is where I think Mortimer has captured something special here - technology changes but people don't change, not really. There's the religious element to it as well, but that is important to someone of John's time as that is how he would view the world and seeing this part of life change in front of him is also interesting and at times, sad, when he sees the things he took as immovable change in a way he would think impossible. It can be funny as well, there are some funny lines, especially the conversations between John and his more down to earth brother William. The ending is satisfying, I had guessed it, but that didn't change reaching it any less enjoyable. It was the journey that was important rather than reaching the end, which I was sad to do because now I have to find something else to read.
I hope Ian Mortimer writes another novel, as well as his history books, as they show a gentle humour and understanding of humanity that is warm and compelling.