Thursday, 23 July 2015

Robert Reviews: TimeStorm

by Steve Harrison
Reviewed by Robert Southworth

Author Steve Harrison has so kindly offered a FREE PAPERBACK COPY of TimeStorm to one lucky reader. Please see below for your chance to win!
Drawing July 30, 2015

This drawing has been held and a winner announced at Facebook.
Please see new reviews for more chances!

We have a giveaway with every review!

TimeStorm is a recipient of
the Highly Commended
category in the Fellowship
of Australian Writers (FAW)
National Literary Awards,
Jim Hamilton Award
TimeStorm begins briefly in the modern day and centres upon a sixteen-year-old boy called William. Then, quite abruptly and with no small skill on behalf of the author, it throws you back a few centuries to 1796, aboard a ship in the Tasman Sea. As the novel moves forward, weather-beaten sailors and hardened convicts alike are transported into the future. To use author Steve Harrison's own words:

TimeStorm is a thrilling epic adventure story of revenge, survival and honour set in a strange new world of unfamiliar technology and equally unfathomable social norms. In the literary footsteps of Hornblower comes Lieutenant Christopher 'Kit' Blaney, an old-fashioned hero, a man of honour, duty and principle, dragged into the 21st century… literally.

Firstly, I would like to mention that TimeStorm is not in any way the type of novel I would usually read. I was so far out of my comfort zone it was like looking for my arm chair from the moon. That said, I believe it is important as both reader and author to experience tales of all types as they give us new perspective in what we can demand from books, and also spur on creative thinking in our own works.  So with a mixture of trepidation and excitement I began. Any fears that I may have had were soon dispelled with the first few pages. The author shows great skill in presenting a picture of modern life, the humdrum existence of a young man with too much time on his hands. As a reader you just begin to settle into the pace of young William’s life and suddenly you are picked up and thrown bodily onto the creaking timbers of a convict ship over two hundred years in the past.

The book moves at a fine pace, keeping you turning the pages with a sense of anticipation. This is helped along the way not only with an intriguing storyline but also the well-developed characters. It is true that some have been sculptured more than others, but all are believable and add to the novel's integrity. I can’t think of one character who is mere window dressing. It’s at this point I must mention Blaney, an officer aboard the ship. I loved this character, and in the blurb he is described as a heroic figure similar to the likes of Hornblower. I could not agree more; heroic and honourable are cut from the same cloth as C. S. Forester’s most notable hero and Cornwell’s Sharpe.

Worth mentioning is the descriptive writing around life aboard the ship. I have very limited knowledge around nautical life in the 18th century, so it was important to me as a reader that the author created an atmosphere that ensured a sense and feeling of the craft and crew in this era. He delivers this skilfully without interrupting the story with too many mundane inner workings of a ship. Coupled with how those characters react to being torn from their native time to a world that differs from theirs in almost every way makes for a very exhilarating read. I believe that Mr. Harrison the author fused his characters together well; they interacted in a way that was true to the era and to them as individuals.  Of course the book has its serious moments but the author has managed to interject snippets of humour that helped the novel in its entirety.

Karen sighed. She had not anticipated a language barrier. ‘I suppose you must be a foreigner.’
A shadow came across the man’s face and his body stiffened. Karen shivered, sensing for the first time an element of danger in the man. He sat up straight and turned to her coldly. ‘Good Lord, no, madam,’ he said crisply, ‘I am an Englishman!’

TimeStorm is written in a format I have not encountered before, and differs from the traditional chapter numbers or headings. Instead each is labelled with a character's name and the segments alternate between them; the start of main sections also include dates.

When I have summarized books in the past I have had a reference point: a place where I thought the book would begin and take me on a journey and I would give my opinion on that journey. This book in many ways has been more remarkable as I never had a starting point, because the novel is so far removed from my usual reading material. It is like getting on a mystery bus tour, where the driver not only has no clue where they are going, but is also blindfolded. All I can say is that I felt the novel was entertaining and well written, with diverse and interesting characters. The fact that time travel is involved is neither here or there, because the skill in which the author has written about the individuals and the trials they face is of such a high quality, that it is on them the reader concentrates. If I had to give the book a rating, I would not have any qualms about placing a more than healthy four stars next to the title.

For your chance to win a FREE PAPERBACK COPY of TimeStorm, simply comment below OR at this review's Facebook thread, located here

About the Author:

Steve Harrison was born in Yorkshire, England, grew up in Lancashire, migrated to New Zealand and eventually settled in Sydney, Australia, where he lives with his wife and daughter. As he juggled careers in shipping, insurance, online gardening and the postal service, Steve wrote short stories, sports articles and a long running newspaper humour column. In recent years he has written a number of unproduced feature screenplays (although being unproduced was not the intention) and developed projects with film producers in the US and UK. 
His script, Sox, was nominated for an Australian Writers’ Guild ‘Awgie’ Award and he has written and produced three short films under his Pronunciation Fillums partnership. Prior to publication, his novel TimeStorm was Highly Commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards, Jim Hamilton Award, in the fantasy/science fiction category, for an unpublished novel of sustained quality and distinction by an Australian author.

You can learn more about Steve Harrison and his work at his blog (which also includes the fascinating story behind TimeStorm), his super fun Facebook page and Twitter. You may also purchase TimeStorm at AmazonAmazon UK and the Elsewhere Press TimeStorm page.


Robert Southworth, a big time Aston Villa fan, is the author of Wrath of the Furies and three books of the Spartacus series, and can be found on his Amazon author page and Twitter. He is currently at work on his new Ripper series, and you can purchase his books at Amazon and Amazon UK


  1. Nautical theme + timeslip with the added benefit of convict ships, I MUST read this novel. Well done, Robert, you've now added another book to my TBR!

    1. I knew your list was getting a little short, hehe

  2. A great first review for us Robert

  3. Robert, what a great review, congratulations! I like timeslip novels, and this is definitely one that I will read. I may even put it near the top of my huge TBR list. Well done to the author, too! I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on this book.

  4. Great review Robert,
    I enjoy timeslip novels and loved Hornblower, this book sounds right up my street. One to go on the wish list methinks.

  5. The cover is amazing, I'm one of those who do sadly judge a book by its cover , so I'm definitely going to give this a try

  6. The cover is amazing, I'm one of those who do sadly judge a book by its cover , so I'm definitely going to give this a try

  7. Brilliant review Robert... It appears that I need this book on my shelf, pronto!

  8. Sounds great, thanks for letting us all know about it

  9. Excellent review. The idea of a timeslip novel, that propels characters from the past into the future is different, indeed!

  10. I was drawn first by the cover and then persuaded by the review that I want to read it. On my list for sure now.

  11. Thanks all, lets spread the word and help bring this worthy book to readers

  12. A wonderful review and just makes me glad that I put this on my TBR list!

  13. Fabulous review,so happy to add it to my TBR pile, and an Aussie to boot!

  14. Sharon Bennett Connolly29 July 2015 at 15:55

    Wonderful review, Robert.

  15. My husband and I have read it and were both mesmerized by this book! Couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next!

  16. Sounds intriguing! I would love to enter the giveaway.

  17. Thanks everyone for your kind comments - and Robert for your fabulous review - and congratulations to Linda for winning an autographed copy of TimeStorm! Cheers, Steve

  18. Thanks all, and the pleasure was mine Steve really enjoyed the novel