REVIEW: A novel about Richard III in This Time | Joan Szechtman | Basset Books, LLC -

REVIEW: A novel about Richard III in This Time | Joan Szechtman | Basset Books, LLC

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Title: This Time
Author: Joan Szechtman
Publisher: Basset Books LLC, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9824493-0-1
Format: Trade Paperback
Length: 344 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewer: Clayton Bye

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Richard III is yanked into the 21st century in his dying moments and a substitute body is left in his place, so as to keep then and now balanced at an atomic level, at a static level of energy. While this is an interesting concept, I don’t believe it’s ever explained how the scientists could make such exact measurements using the equipment available to them. However, I suspended my disbelief and gave the novel a chance.

And it turns out that This Time by Joan Szechtman is an enjoyable read. Billed as historical fiction, it also gives more than a nod to the science fiction genre and the romance genre. The book deals largely with Richard’s attempts to adapt to 500 years of technical and social changes. He must learn to use a computer and drive a car. His English is also terribly out of date. And Richard, ever the man of action, also intends to carve out a place in the business world where his skills can be applied in a useful way. Intuitive thinking and the ability to solve problems quickly and with confidence helps…

He converts the project director from an enemy who puts two bullets into him to the man who allows Richard to run a risky project of his own, as well as becoming a welcome member of the corporate structure of the company itself.

His romance with the inventor of the original technology used in the time machine, who knows Richard only as the evil, deformed man portrayed in one of Shakespeare’s plays, is also complicated by the fact that the woman is Jewish and Richard is a devout Catholic who is not at all comfortable with today’s atmosphere of religious toleration. Richard sets out to solve this set of problems just as he would plan a campaign.

Richard’s emotional wounds from the recent deaths of his wife and child, and his folly of taking his men into a battle he knows they cannot win, takes a heavy toll. Did he go into battle as a form of suicide? If he can be brought forward in time, what about his wife and son?

As Richard works through all the alien ideas and possibilities now open to him, one can see the shape of a king emerge—with one exception. Richard is comfortable dealing with all kinds of people, but is especially demonstrative of emotion when it comes to his new love and her children and of his doomed wife and the son he hopes to rescue from an early death. This did not feel real to me. Everything I’ve read of the historical times of Richard III leaves me with the suspicion that overt emotion of any kind would be seen as a weakness and thus avoided. Why would Richard make such an about face in our time? Yes, I believe he would want the same results he garners within the pages of This Time, but I think he would have been more aloof and would have kept his own council.

Anyway, these are just my opinions. This Time by Joan Szechtman is probably closer in content to the movie Kate and Leopold than Michael Crichton’s Timeline, but comparison between the three stories seems to indicate that This Time presents a more believable scenario than either of the mentioned stories. History Buffs and Romantics should find the book most enjoyable.

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REVIEW: A novel about Richard III in This Time | Joan Szechtman | Basset Books, LLC REVIEW:  A novel about Richard III in This Time | Joan Szechtman | Basset Books, LLC Reviewed by Clayton Bye on 2:52 am Rating: 5


  1. Ooo do not like him, I guess that's why I'd like to read it ;)

  2. Hi Clayton and Blodeuedd!

    That reminds me, I haven't read Michael Crichton’s Timeline, but it is on my shelves...
    somewhere. Thanks for the review Clayton - sounds brilliantly science fiction to me.

    Ha! Blodeueddd, I know what you mean - you curious thing you ! :)

  3. Thanks for the nice words folks.

    I thought I would add the following comment from the author of This Time (in response to the original review). It may make a difference in how you interpret the review:

    "In an email I received from the author, who is happy with the review, by the way, I have been given a reason for the emotional behaviour of Richard III in her novel. As this was information I didn’t have and it seems to offer a reasonable explanation, I thought I would share it with you…

    “according to contemporary (to Richard) records, both he and his queen nearly went mad with grief upon learning of the death of their son and Richard wept openly at his queen’s funeral and then shut himself off from the world for three days following. So while he would try to keep his emotions in check, I didn’t see him as always able to do so.”

    Sounds plausible to me. Thanks Joan."

    --Clayton Bye

  4. Love your comment, Blodeueddd. He was the Shakespearean villain I loved to hate until I read a book about him that showed a "good" Richard. Made me look into who he really was, did a lot of research that ultimately led to this book. I hope you do read my book and find him as compelling as I did. I'm now a card carrying Ricardian. ;-)

  5. Thanks for sharing that Clayton! It really makes me see him in a different light.

    Hi Joan,

    Well, this is going on my Goodreads wish list :)

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.



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