The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley is due out on May 14th. Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for the advance copy. I was fascinated by the description, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Ministry of Time

by Kaliane Bradley

A time travel romance, a speculative spy thriller, a workplace comedy, and an ingeniously constructed exploration of the nature of truth and power and the potential for love to change it Welcome to The Ministry of Time, the exhilarating debut novel by Kaliane Bradley.

In the near future, a civil servant is offered the salary of her dreams and is, shortly afterward, told what project she’ll be working on. A recently established government ministry is gathering “expats” from across history to establish whether time travel is feasible—for the body, but also for the fabric of space-time. …

Supported by a chaotic and charming cast of characters—including a 17th-century cinephile who can’t get enough of Tinder, a painfully shy World War I captain, and a former spy with an ever-changing series of cosmetic surgery alterations and a belligerent attitude to HR—the ‘bridge’ will be forced to confront the past that shaped her choices, and the choices that will shape the future.

An exquisitely original and feverishly fun fusion of genres and ideas, The Ministry of Time asks the universal What happens if you put a disaffected millennial and a Victorian polar explorer in a house together?(goodreads)

My Review

Each chapter in The Ministry of Time starts with an extract from an account of a polar expedition. This felt familiar, although it was not until the third or fourth chapter that the Erebus resonated in my brain. Yes, I read Michael Palin’s account of this ship, including its momentous search for the Northwest Passage, a few years back.

So, like with Loot and the Tippoo Sultan’s Tiger, I felt a connection with the tale. A comfort blanket, if you like.

But it was the rest of Kaliane Bradley’s brilliant construction that pulled me in and wouldn’t let me go. I was fully gripped, entwined in this thriller with spy-story overtones, that I’ve merely classed as ‘suspense’. The plot is as intricate as a time travel tale can be. The characters not only present themselves in great depth but with the elegance of people yanked from their eras into a twenty-first century political experiment. The creation of accurate responses to different mores, philosophies and ethics is a real tour de force. Yet it is written so cleanly that they seem to belong to both times at once.

I devoured this book. It gripped me in much the same way as Diamond Eye and Lessons in Chemistry gripped me in previous years. Which suggests it could be my book of the year. The only wrinkle was the ending, which was as twisted and baffling as most time-travel thrillers. I think. I’ll have to re-read it.

Book Review | The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

3 thoughts on “Book Review | The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

  • 11 May, 2024 at 7:25 pm

    This one I think had better go on my list! Not a great fan of suspense, but the personal interactions sound too good to miss!


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