A stalwart of futuristic romance delivers another exciting adventure in which the fate of the civilized world hangs on the success of a desperate mission into the past.Although the characters feel a bit stilted at first, Ms. Dawson cleverly twists and turns a neat plot to keep us turning the pages as fast as possible.

It has been 300 years since the famed leader Mikal Har-Amaden unified the tribes into a world-wide government. Even the reclusive Astasi have put aside their magic to join the rest of humanity. And all of this prosperity can be attributed to the actions of that one historical personage.

Astasi historian Shayna is fascinated to be part of the university's daring time-travel project. Still, she cannot feel easy about the radical opinions of a rival historian who believes that the Amaden tribe should never have accepted the yoke of unification. Her worst fears are realized when he hijacks the time capsule and disappears into the past to change the course of events.

There seems only one thing to do: go after him. But something goes awry with the second machine, and Shayna lands right into the arms of a young and handsome Mikal fiercely determined to unify the world under Amaden rule. How can Shayna protect the man she has come to love more than life itself and still make sure that the future happens as it should?

(Dec., 368 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer