Book Review (SERIES): Shadows Through Time

Amazon Cover

Shadows Through Time by James Palmer


Famous explorer Captain Richard Francis Burton has been on some amazing adventures. But he is about to embark on his most incredible journey yet as he…Travels back in Time aboard Captain Nemo’s wondrous Nautilus to discover the frightening origins of a spreading worldwide madness…Struggles to stop Edward Bulwer-Lytton from founding a dangerous alien cult that will threaten all of London…Faces a terrifying invasion by alien beings from the prehistory…Takes a dangerous trip through Time to stop a madman from rewriting all of human history…While on these journeys, Burton will match wits with the likes of Mycroft Holmes, encounter the infamous Professor Moriarty, Ian Fleming, and Aleister Crowley. And don’t forget the shoggoths and Morlocks!

Shadows Through Time collects these four novellas into one exciting volume: The Depths of Time; Shadows Over London; The Dream Key; The Map of Time


The collected novella edition containing:
The Depths of Time
Shadows over London
The Dream Key
The Map of Time

I’ve reviewed the novellas individually below. Overall a fever-dream ride through an homage to Victorian-era genre fiction. Touching on everything from Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo (Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas – 1875), to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Mycroft Holmes (The Greek Interpreter – 1893), from H.P. Lovecraft’s town of Innsmouth (The Shadow over Innsmouth – 1936) to H.G. Wells; H.G. Wells’ unnamed Time Traveler (The Time Machine – 1895). So many different people, places, and objects are mentioned, the Easter Egg hunt never ends. After each story, a reader wants to delve into the roots of genre fiction.

At times, the Great White Explorer motif set my teeth on edge. The classism, misogamy, and exploitation of cultures are all perfect pitch for the time being recreated, instead of being reimaged into our modern sensitivities. Exceedingly well-done on Mr. Palmer’s part; he clearly understands what he is paying homage to.

I highly recommend the read.


Amazon Cover


From the far reaches of the Shadow Council Archives comes the thrilling adventure The Depths of Time!

They have worked behind the scenes of society for centuries, protecting humans from threats beyond their understanding. They are The Shadow Council, and these Archives are the stories of their members and adventures throughout recorded history. From folk heroes to monsters out of darkest nightmare, the Shadow Council Archives explore the world beyond mundane understanding.

Richard Francis Burton thought his life of adventure was slowing down until an odd woman named Elizabeth Marsh invited him on one final adventure—one he couldn’t resist.
This adventure takes Burton and companion George Edward Challenger below the depths of the sea, through the spinning sands of time, and introduces him to the mysterious Captain Nemo.

Will Burton’s thirst for adventure finally be sated? Will this voyage be his last? What will become of the mysterious Nemo and his companions? Find out as you travel through The Depths of Time.

Blending classic Allan Quartermaine-style adventure with Verne-esque science fiction, James Palmer builds a rollicking ride of mystery, suspense, and intrigue as these historical and literary figures band together to battle an ancient evil rising up from the depths.

Who will emerge from The Depths of Time?

This Shadow Council urban fantasy novella comes from the world of Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter. Similar in length to Bookshots, these novellas provide a glimpse behind the curtain at an urban fantasy world where demons walk the earth, and the monster may well be the hero.


First off – LOVE THE TITLE. So much meaning and play with the meaning. When the title is that good a match to the story on so many levels, you know the writer is going bring some amazing stuff to the table.

Mash together all the Victorian strange with the Shadow Council from the Quincy Harker universe. From Cthulhu-fever dreams to time-travel-insanity, all with a proper stiff-upper lip from the great white male explorers/exploiters of the Victorian era.

Only complaint is I missed a character I could attach myself to in the book. On the other hand, not being able to insert myself deeply into this story so that I live within its action isn’t necessarily a bad thing when things like the names of elder gods make their appearance.

(This novella I received for an honest review; the rest of the reviews for this series I did I liked this novella.)


Amazon Cover


Time Travel and Submarines and Moriarty, oh my!

The exciting sequel to The Depths of Time!

Captain Richard Francis Burton has just returned from his adventure through Time with his sanity barely intact. Now, confronted with memories that are not his own and the sudden disappearance of his fiancée, he must unravel a puzzling new mystery. Summoned by the enigmatic Mycroft Holmes, Burton is tasked with stopping an eldritch cult before it takes hold of all of London. It will take all of the legendary explorer’s vaunted skills to survive shoggoths and the machinations of the villainous Professor Moriarty as he races to stop the mysterious King in Yellow from unleashing a chaos older than time.


The second novella of the Sir Richard Francis Burton series doesn’t have quite the punch of The Depths of Time. Even so, the book is still a wonderful homage to the stories of the Victorian era. Indeed, where Sir Burton got the assist last book from Captain Nemo and his Nautilus, this time our explorer ends up in the competent and manipulative hands of Mycroft Holmes.

Sir Burton hasn’t recovered from his last adventure to the depths of the ocean when he is called by Crown and Country to investigate a possible human sacrifice cult in London. Still questioning his sanity, Sir Burton calls again on his allies, the larger-than-life Challenger and the time-traveling Herbert, neither one left untouched by their previous activities, to help him save the citizens of London from themselves. But can they trust Mycroft to have their back?


Amazon Cover


Captain Burton faces his most bizarre adventure yet!

He has traveled through Time and fought eldritch horrors, but nothing can prepare the famous explorer for what he is about to face.

His friend, the young poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, has collapsed, along with several other of London’s most prominent citizens. When they recover it is clear they are no longer the men they were. Sensing a threat to the British Empire, Mycroft Holmes taps Burton to investigate. But the explorer has his own troubles, plagued by visions of nightmare vistas beyond imagining. To save his friend and stop an invasion from beyond Time and Space, Burton must rely on the help of Inspector Abberline, Professor Challenger, and the Time Traveler as well as other versions of himself if he is to unlock the secret of the mysterious Dream Key.


The Great Race, Old Ones, and Things Living Outside Time are not yet done with Captain Richard Burton and Victorian London. The Awakened first fall asleep, including the poet Algernon Swinburne, to wake anew – but are they truly who they were when they went asleep?

The mind-bending saga continues with this tale of Dreaming and Waking. Of Many and Singular. Of Universe and Beyond.

Easter egg homage – I’m thinking Doctor John Hurt might be a 9.5-hour homage, outside of the normal time and space twists of this series. But it is all good. There are so many Easter Eggs in this series, a second read-through is needed just dedicated to a google-fu search. Fun (and I am VERY glad I didn’t have to edit this book).

I was completely absorbed by this particular story of the series.


Amazon Cover


Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton has come unstuck in Time!

While chasing Morlocks in the sewers beneath London, Burton learns of a terrifying new threat to all of Time in the exciting conclusion to this chapter of the Shadow Council Archives.

Someone has given Mycroft Holmes a timeline of future world events, a Map of Time that holds the key to world domination.

Now Burton, along with Frederick Abberline and a beautiful Time Traveler from an alternate future, must learn the identity of Mycroft’s sinister benefactor before he unravels the timestream and destroys the world as Burton knows it! Doing so will take every ounce of the famous explorer’s determination as he faces off with the gruesome, subterranean Morlocks and encounters the likes of Ian Fleming and Aleister Crowley in a race to stop the end of existence.


The conclusion of the Captain Burton series by James Palmer (The Map of Time) concentrates its homage on H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine at a level similar to the first novella (The Depths of Time) was an homage to Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.

And it is still rip-roaring tale.

Unlike the rest of the series, this doesn’t contain the sanity questioning impact seen previously – but it makes it up by cranking the crazy quilt of time travel.

How long can Mycroft Holmes continue to protect the interests of the British Empire … and at what costs? Can Captain Burton prevent the Murlocks from taking over London’s sewers? Just how much does Abberline need to drink to make sense of Penelope Hemlock’s existence?