Three Days to Never by Tim Powers

8/10 A highly creative and inventive story which suffered slightly from the padding.

When twelve year old Daphne Marrity takes a film from her recently deceased grandmother’s house, neither she nor her father, Frank, realize what they now have in their possession. In an instant they are thrust into the centre of a world-altering conspiracy, drawing the dangerous attentions of both the Israeli secret service and an ancient European cabal of occultists.

Now father and daughter have three days to learn the rules of a terrifying game in order to escape a fate more profound than death – because the Marritys hold the key to the ultimate destruction of not only what’s to come, but what has already been.

Being a Tim Powers novel means Three Days to Never is hugely ambitious in scope. I cannot reveal too much of the plot without spoiling the fun, but let’s just say that readers will enjoy the many twists and surprises here. Fans of parallel world’s, alternate history, science fiction and the paranormal will really enjoy this.

Powers does have a writing style that may take getting used to. Luckily I had already read two of his previous novels, but sometimes you do have to tread carefully to fully understand what is going on.

Rather than a direct Hemmingway-esque way of saying something is happening or has happened, Powers tends to over elaborate on something quite mundane. For example even the action of eating can take him several paragraphs, I was waiting for some deep meaning or plot reveal, but no, it was literally just father and daughter enjoying a meal together!

It is little surprise then, with padding like this, the novel clocks in at an unnecessarily overlong 420 pages. For the most part, it is intriguing and original. I thoroughly enjoyed the Einstein and Chaplin subplots and how the Marritys uncovered all the many layers of their family past.

There is plenty of gripping action and with all the rules different here, you really don’t know what to expect and who will live and who won’t. Again, this is not taking place in a ‘fixed world’ where everything is final.

Once finished I thought that I had read another highly creative and inventive story which suffered slightly from the padding I mentioned earlier. A slick Tim Powers thriller would really be something to behold. But I am sure this will please his fans and add many new ones.

Three Days to Never By Tim Powers
Published 2013 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.
ISBN: 978 1 84887 4077

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