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Publisher: Rising Phoenix Press, LLC (2016)
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In a grim, cold future world, a small elite group guards a treasure from another time in hopes they can somehow rewrite the past, even at the cost of their own lives.

Timo is a sharpshooter who, with his wife Alyd, guards the Tower, a bizarre ancient building in the center of their small realm where rulers live and ancient secrets are kept.

When Timo shoots down a nomadic intruder trying to penetrate the fortress, he finds an unusually beautiful knife among the dead man’s possessions and chooses to steal it for himself. When the knife’s true owner is revealed, Timo is not in danger as he and Alyd feared, but instead will be invited into the Tower’s elite circle.

Timo, Alyd and her mother Wen move into the Tower where he will work for the chief government official, Maldor. He is assigned to transcribe books from a time more than 500 years before, when their planet was not desolate and desperate—1963. This work, and what Maldor reveals to him privately, will shatter Timo and Alyd’s illusions; “the Great Plague” that they were taught about in school was something far more cataclysmic and sinister, bringing widespread death to a once-thriving planet.

Meanwhile, the nomadic tribes tired of being without electricity amass outside the Tower’s fortress, led by Maldor’s estranged son who rules by visions, signs and the immediacy of weather-related food shortages, to plan a surprise attack. They will storm and possibly destroy the Tower, little knowing its potential for the preservation of mankind. The masses blame Maldor’s crack-pot scientific theories for their plight and are insistent on battle. Only the sudden bursting of a distant star and the skills of Timo’s marksmanship can save the world…but to save it, everything Timo has ever known must disappear.

A debut novel by author Darrell Lee whose experience in the International Space Station informs the science behind this action-packed story, The Gravitational Leap is a bold but rational foray into the worlds of science and pseudoscience, a mix of nuclear weaponry, Einstein’s theories, and the always intriguing notion of time travel.

It is important to note that this is a post-apocalyptic story and not a dystopian. With believable characters and a mind-tickling premise: What if history could be reversed to avert a worldwide apocalypse?

Lee’s book also encompasses a touching romance, and the question of personal religious belief and its place in a society that longs for salvation. The characters recite Bible verses throughout the work. More could have been done to delineate presumed ethnic differences in the future world, quicken the pacing of the battle scenes, and there are long passages from a twentieth century submarine’s log that would have been better presented as dialog or broken up in another manner. There are instances where characters are introduced to further the plot, then disappear again. Yet, this is an intriguing work with logical concepts balanced by plenty of excitement and a surprise ending.

In a gripping tale that blends historical fact and scientific speculation, the hero of The Gravitational Leap must risk all to end the desperation of a failing civilization and spark the chance for a global reawakening.