THE TEMPORAL MAN
To successfully write a time travel or fantasy takes a special mindset. Few authors are so gifted. Lucky for readers, Robert Appleton is a genius in the field. His latest book, THE TEMPORAL MAN, is an awesome example of Rob's amazing talent.
THE TEMPORAL MAN
Have you ever wondered what it’s like outside of time? For disillusioned young waitress Rebecca Green, those words become startling reality when a mysterious stranger arrives to literally turn her world upside down.
Sam Morrow is on the run. He’s being pursued across time by four dangerous men from his past, including the deadliest swordsman in France. But now that he’s found the girl of his dreams, it might just be time to stand and fight. Rebecca has an idea—to recruit the best swordsman in eighteenth century England—but will aristocratic Percy Torrance dare miss his wedding on Monday for an unprecedented time travel journey?
Pulse-pounding duels, sea battles and a daring mountain rescue punctuate this tale of romance on the edge. From the distant past to the far-flung future, there’s no hiding from fate. Hold on tight to The Temporal Man.
(From Part 2: 1798)
There was a boyishness to his every gesture, a sandbox joie de vivre in the way he handled the sword. As Sam sparred with him, I knew instantly that this was not someone we ought to remove from the natural order of the world. He was much too promising. Life loved him as much as he loved life. Quality informed the tiniest twitch of his blade, and in a smile both perennial and genuine, I saw rarity. Grace. A man the nineteenth century would need. Though he was by far the best swordsman we’d found in England, I didn’t want to recruit twenty-two-year-old Percival Torrance. Not for a fight to the death.
“What do you think?” I whispered to Sam, after Percy won his seventh point in a row.
“He’s bloody marvellous. I’m no hack with a foil, but he’s got the jump on me every time.” Sam wiped his sweaty forehead with a tissue-thin, silk sleeve, enlarging the wet patch he’d already made. “This is hot work.”
“Sam, I don’t want anything bad to happen to him.”
“To him? He’s kicking my time travelling derriere. You should be more worried about me.”
“I mean if we brought him with us…and he got hurt. I’d never forgive myself. He’s too sweet.”
“I know. But what if we give it to him plainly, and let him decide for himself. This was your idea, remember? You said to find the best swordsman in England. Here he is.”
I nodded reluctantly. After all, Percy was my best hope for keeping Sam alive.
It was a humid afternoon, sometime in the month of August, seventeen ninety-eight, in the reign of His Majesty, King George the Third. We had learned of Percy’s swordsmanship by reputation, three of the five best fencing academies in London having sung his praises. The youngest son of a revered Admiral in His Majesty’s Navy, Percy was looking forward to his first posting upon being accepted to the rank of Lieutenant, something he was utterly confident of. “I know every knot and rivet,” he assured us, “and that’s just in the old man’s wooden leg. But seriously, anyone can be a seaman. It’s the thinking on your feet that trips so many up. Lucky for me, I’ve always been pretty agile in that regard, like the old man used to be.”
Stunning deep green covered the thirty-acre garden at the back of the Torrance estate. Cone-shaped, evergreen trees populated the grounds like giant arrowheads pointing to the sky. As Percy parried attack after attack with perfect alacrity, even nonchalance, I went dizzy. A realisation swarmed about me. I knelt to catch my breath. This had all existed over two centuries ago. The pollen, the gust, the evergreens, and young Percy Torrance. All had had their inkling on time’s unfurling scroll. His dreams, realised or failed, were already writ as historical fact. Nothing he could say or do would alter my past, the nineteenth century I knew. It was as if I held the answers to all his questions, the clasps over all his uncertainties, both naturally and unnaturally, for I sensed he would jump at the chance to do something extraordinary. And our being here, drinking his brandy, was nothing if not extraordinary.
After winning ten straight points in a row, he shook Sam’s hand and led us inside the house.
“Now then, Rebecca and Sam, might I ask what prompted your delightful visit? Your letter mentioned something about a singular proposition. I was intrigued. And if it does not involve money, I cannot even imagine what it could mean.”
His face was quite thin, with a small mouth and attractive, hazel eyes. His nose was aquiline, and his chin was finely cleft and very masculine. I couldn’t tell the colour of his hair, as he wore an expensive grey wig, but from his dark eyebrows and the few black hairs showing on his chest through his partially open shirt, I guessed at either black or mousy brown. He had a slim, almost wiry athleticism that gave him tremendous balance. I could picture him climbing up a ship’s rigging in record time, and then fighting a duel on the topgallant.
In other words, he would make an ideal ally in our fight against the Delgados and their Frenchman.
“First, I’d like to say that you’re the best swordsman I’ve ever come across,” Sam answered. He took a sip of brandy and then glanced around the exquisite living room for a few moments, his stare finally resting on the portrait of a lady on the wall above a mahogany sideboard. “Lovely.”
“My Aunt Sylvia. She taught me the piano…before she passed away.”
“You remind me of her, Rebecca,” added the youngster. “You possess a similar incongruity.”
“Oh?” I didn’t like the word when pointed at me. It sounded so…trigonometric.
He grinned. “That was a compliment, madam. I meant to refer to the time we live in.” Someone walked over my grave. He blithely went on, “The eighteen nineties have been so prosaic, don’t you think? One has to go out and find excitement. But you, madam, light up even this stuffy mausoleum. Aunt Sylvia was the same.”
I blushed. Either he didn’t have a clue how charming he was—quite probable, in this era of etiquette—or he just didn’t care that I was in love with Sam. We had announced ourselves as a couple in the letter, but either way, he wielded compliments as skilfully as he did his blade.
“Percy, we’ve come to ask you something…equally incongruous.” Sam cleared his throat.
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