Sent out to deal with a troublesome warlord on the imperial frontier, Lieutenant Oswald Bastable, an army officer in 1902 India, unexpectedly finds himself in a 1973 where airships ply the skies and the British Empire continues to thrive. Feigning amnesia, he adapts quickly to life in a world which seems nothing less than idyllic. Yet Bastable’s path soon leads to a series of adventures that cause him to reexamine his initial assumptions and lead him to embrace a cause very different from the ones he was trained to defend.
The first in “Nomad of Time” trilogy, Michael Moorcock provides readers of this book with an old-fashioned pulp adventure in a steampunk setting. This combination works thanks in no small part to Moorcock’s skills as a writer, which produce a novel that transcends the works which inspired it. He keeps the narrative moving along briskly, and adapts both the tropes of the form and the politics which drive the story in the later chapters to produce a highly entertaining read, one that has aged well in comparison to other novels of its type. This is an excellent starting point for someone wishing to explore the steampunk genre, as well as a fun read for anyone seeking a good book with which to pass the time.