Felix Sayers' world is turned upside down when he learns that his parents lied about his birth-date.
The problem is that, 35 years ago, the known universe was split into two copies - Universe A and Universe B - with travel possible between them. Events which occurred more than 35 years ago (such as the Gold Rush of 1855) are the same in both worlds. However, the universes have since diverged - for instance, in Universe A, the earthquake destroyed much of San Francisco and toppled the famous crenelated brick towers of the Golden Gate Bridge; while in Universe B, species are becoming extinct due to lack of environmental conservation.
And if Felix is six months older than he thought he was, he's no longer a unique - he's old enough to have an alter in Universe B. Two Felix Sayers, once identical, but living different lives for 35 years...
So Felix A (from Universe A) spends his life savings to take a vacation in Universe B, because his dream is to write a mystery novel, and he must know if Felix B is writing one, too! But, since it's against regulations to pry into the life of one's alter, it won't be easy to find out.
This is a delight of a novel, that gets off to a slow pace and then grabs you about two-thirds of the way through and dashes to its conclusion, meaning raising questions about the value of one's life, and how small changes can lead to entirely different lives. Plus there's a bit of subtle romance, lots of clever humor (half-dogs and Giant Squirrels?), a race to solve a scientific riddle - and is someone really trying to kill Felix?
It's also a novel that is suitable for readers of any age.
For wargamers, the concept of how the split universes work could easily be the inspiration for a sci-fi adventure or campaign, although this specific plot is not particularly gameable.
I read this book in its Kindle edition, which I picked up as a Book of the Day sale item from Amazon. The author has a scientific background, and this is her first novel.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .