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The Watch: Memoirs of a Revolutionist
Dennis Danvers
HarperCollins EOS Books, 368 pages

The Watch: Memoirs of a Revolutionist
Dennis Danvers
Other novels by Dennis Danvers include Wilderness, Circuit of Heaven, Time and Time Again and End of Days. He has taught creative writing and literature at the University of Texas at Arlington, North Texas State University, Virginia Intermont College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. His novel, Wilderness, has recently been adapted as a 3-part series for British television. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Fourth World
SF Site Review: Circuit of Heaven

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Do you ever wonder what went so wrong with the Russian Revolution? Some of the communist ideals were admirable; the promise of plenty for all is a wonderful concept, equality for all citizens is so just and natural. So what happened? Maybe, just maybe, it wasn't the theories that doomed the experiment from the start, but the people who ended up in power. If someone who genuinely believed in the best of lofty goals had taken the reins? Who knows what the world would look like now?

Suppose someone stepped in at the death scene of an influential anarchist and offered him a chance to live again, in the future. Imagine this noble, endearing anarchist (there's a phrase you don't hear all the time...) arriving in the world of 1999 in Richmond, Virginia, with a front row seat on all the prejudice, injustice, suffering, and imbalance of the end of the 20th century. A committed man such as this would be unable to shrug off the inequities and abuses and go on with his new life. Such a man would be Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin.

Plucked from his dying body by a mysterious and maddening person from the future, Peter is allowed to start over, but he can no more change his nature than racists can celebrate diversity. Soon, his wisdom and radical view of the world have people, especially young people, flocking to him to hear more. He even discovers some people who, like himself, were snatched from their own time and set down here. The process of acceptance and adaption will prove unique to each person around Peter.

Of course, in every age there are those who fear change -- with or without justification. These powers are going to be no more receptive to Peter's ideas no than they were in 1921. Peter has some advantages now: his knowledge of history, experience, and the use of the amazing watch that allows him to move through time. After all, he has the benefit of an entire lifetime to look back on and ponder. Did he make the right decisions the first time around? How he will choose to use these powers is the question at the heart of The Watch.

How deep is devotion to an ideal when balanced against loyalty, love, and personal happiness?

Dennis Danvers never delivers less than rivetting, thought-provoking fiction. The issues raised in The Watch: Memoirs of a Revolutionist may be his most insightful yet. He encourages readers to separate the philosophy from the philosopher and to judge the results by the implementation. It is a daring, tantalizing challenge; don't shrink away from it.

And the story? Fascinating from the first page, drawing the reader in to read along at breakneck pace to the breathless conclusion. It is impossible to set the story of Peter Alexeivich Kropotkin aside, even for a break. Even after finishing the last page and closing the cover, this is an account that will resound within for some time to come. It is unforgettable.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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