Review: Circles of Time by Phillip Rock

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (January 2, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0062229338
  • Source: Publisher

In the sequel to The Passing Bells, the world is forever changed after the Great War. Invisible boundaries between social classes has vanished as the war’s deadly grasp affects everyone equally. The rebuilding that comes is not only structural but emotional and personal as well.

Lord Greville is desperate to reconstruct Abingdon Pryory to its original, despite the fact that his family has no interest in returning to their home. Charles is away in a hospital, suffering emotional trauma from the war, what we would now call post-traumatic stress disorder. Greville barely notices the existence of his daughter, Alexandra, and his child he refuses to acknowledge as his grandson. Rather than facing the repercussions of the war, Greville instead attempts to erase all memories, rebuilding his life as it was before.

Clearly the character that shines in this second book of a trilogy is Martin Rilke. After writing a book that reveals the true effects of the war, he is shunned by many. Rather than allowing this reaction to destroy him, he stands tall and continues to further his career in journalism by becoming further involved in the politics of the age.

Circles of Time is an incredibly strong follow-up to The Passing Bells. Reader is granted access to the after-effects of war and the devastation faced by each of the main characters. What I found incredibly rewarding about this novel was how genuine Charles’ experience and trauma was detailed. There are very few novels able to capture the trauma of war by those who experience it, a trait with which this author excels. While I wouldn’t say I avoid reading novels set in this era, I’m generally not drawn to them. That said, Rock’s fictional narrative has cultivated an interest. I now find myself not only drawn to, but obsessed with, reading fiction set in this time period.

As mentioned, this is the second book in a trilogy. While a small amount of back story is provided, I highly recommend starting at the beginning in order to gain a better understanding of the shifts and changes experienced by each of the main characters.

Bottom line: in Circles of Time Rock continues an incredibly informative, rewarding, compelling epic trilogy. I look forward to reading the next book, A Future Arrived.

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