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The Legion of Time
By Jack Williamson

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The Legion of Time

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The Legion of Time
By Jack Williamson
Thorndike Press - Large Print, (2002)
ISBN: 0-7862-4663-4
Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 18, 2003

Jonbar is a fabulous city, inhabited by the Dynon, a possible, future race of man that is nearly immortal. Jonbar rests somewhere out past Earth's possible future. Is Earth destined to evolve into this utopian paradise, or is to evolve into a hellish realm of Gyronchi, ruled by the demonic Sorainya? The direction Earth's evolution is to take lies in the hands of one man, Dennis Lanning.

In April of 1927, while still a student at Harvard University, Dennis Lanning received a visit from an apparition. The apparition took the form of a beautiful young woman, whose name was Lethonee. Had she been just any woman coming to his Cambridge apartment, her visit might have had only the tiniest impact upon his life. However, Lethonee was not just any woman. Lethonee came to Lanning as an apparition. Her image was transmitted back through time from her home in Jonbar to ask Lanning for his help. In his hands rested the future. By his actions, he had the power to erase Jonbar from the future reality that might be.

Lethonee's visit was to have an extreme impact upon Lanning and his three roommates: the mathematician Wilmot McLan, the engineer Lao Meng Shan, and the jock of the group, Barry Halloran. During Lethonee's brief visit she warned Lanning not to go flying as he planned. He did not fly that day, but his best friend Halloran did. His body was never recovered from the wreckage of the plane!

Lethonee is not the only visitor to trouble Lanning. As he moves forward with his own life as a foreign correspondent, he receives several visits from Sorainya who rules Gyronchi with her horde of fighter slaves. A beguiling woman, Sorainya first tries to seduce Lanning by offering to make him her consort. When this fails to win him to her cause, she tries to make him kill himself. As an apparition she does not have the ability to kill him herself, but she does have the means of confusing his mind so that he might do something dangerous without realizing it.

The years past, and Lanning pursues many endeavors, including becoming a fighter pilot and an author. However it is in his role as fighter pilot that his fate takes the most drastic change. Shot down somewhere over China he is rescued by the ghost ship, Chronion. Captained by McLan, the ship is filled with a host of 'dead' men, including Halloran. The Chronion can travel through time; thanks to a device called a chronoscope. Using this device, McLan has sailed his ship throughout time to rescue a core of fighters to help defend Jonbar.

Thus begins one of the best time travel / sword fighting stories that you'll ever read. The Legion of Time, by Jack Williamson is an old-fashioned swashbuckling tale, albeit with the element of time travel and some gene manipulation thrown in for color. One of Sorainya's demonic experiments was to create a race of half man / half ants. At the center of the tale is the dashing, and intelligent Lanning. Who finds that he has fallen in love with a woman who might never exist, while at the same time he must try to stay out of the clutches of the evil queen who will do anything she can to destroy him, and to ensure that Jonbar never comes to exist.

The fighters that join forces to save Jonbar are an eclectic lot, running the gamut from Boris Barinin, a Soviet rocket-flyer to Emil Schorn, a Prussian taken from a burning Zeppelin in 1917. All the men gathered on the Chronion have taken an oath to defend Jonbar or die in the process - their efforts to adhere to this oath prove heroic! In short, The Legion of Time is an entertaining and engaging book that is hard to put down.

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